Integration and Democracy: the Big Trade‐off

Giandomenico Majone

in Dilemmas of European Integration

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199274307
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603310 | DOI:
Integration and Democracy: the Big Trade‐off

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Democracy is an essential condition of membership in the EU, yet the EU itself is said to suffer from a serious democratic deficit. The paradox is more apparent than real — one cannot safely extrapolate democratic norms from the national to the supranational level. The members of the EU are not individuals but corporate bodies, and democratic principles do not directly apply to such a polity. Arguments about Europe’s democratic deficit implicitly assume that the EU must eventually become a full-fledged federal state, but this is not what the majority of European voters apparently want. At best, federation is only one of several possible outcomes of the integration process. In reality, the democratic deficit is the price we pay for attempting to pursue political objectives by non-political means.

Keywords: democratic deficit; democratic theory; European demos; federalism; non-majoritarian institutions; normative standards; popular sovereignty; representation

Chapter.  7797 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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