Parliamentary Institutions in International Polities: What are the Conditions?

Berthold Rittberger

in Building Europe's Parliament

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273423
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602764 | DOI:
Parliamentary Institutions in International Polities: What are the Conditions?

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Develops a three-staged theory to explain why national governments have created and successively empowered the European Parliament. In a first step, it is argued that attempts by national governments to transfer sovereignty to the EU-level in order to improve the problem-solving capacity of their domestic polities threaten to undermine domestic channels of interest representation and accountability. These challenges are commonly perceived by political elites in the member states as a ‘democratic legitimacy deficit’. In a second step, it is argued that the proposals political elites in different member states advance to alleviate the ‘democratic legitimacy deficit’ vary across and even within member states. In the final step, the chapter inquires how the different concerns about the ‘democratic legitimacy deficit’ affect the interaction among national governments during Treaty amending intergovernmental conferences. For each stage in the development of the theory, the chapter develops a set of hypotheses and observable implications. The hypotheses are subjected to empirical scrutiny in the ensuing chapters.

Keywords: communicative action; constitution-building; delegation; democratic deficit; legitimacy; pooling; rhetorical action; transfer of sovereignty

Chapter.  11924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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