Making EU Representative Democracy Fit for the Future

Författare: Crum Ben, Kreilinger Valentin, Lord Christopher, Puntscher Riekmann Sonja, von Sydow Göran

Long criticized as deficient, the EU’s democratic system now finds itself threatened – as do national systems – by populism, technocracy, and rival forms of government. The essays in this collection suggest how EU representative democracy could change in order to survive and perform effectively. Contributions by Ben Crum, Valentin Kreilinger, Christopher Lord, Sonja Puntscher Riekmann, and Göran von Sydow. (2022:2op)

The EU is composed of representative democracies (its member states) and is itself a representative democracy, since citizens elect the members of the European Parliament and (indirectly) the ministers in the Council of the European Union. How to improve the effectiveness and legitimacy of this compound system has been the subject of much debate.

With institutional change back on the agenda, frequent and severe crises rocking the EU and the extension of EU action into new and highly contested areas, this volume offers ways of thinking through this predicament, and some possible ways out.

  • In their introduction, Göran von Sydow and Valentin Kreilinger (eds) ask what EU representative democracy is and why we should bother about it. They raise cross-cutting issues, the current policy debate and broader developments.

  • Ben Crum distinguishes two ways of understanding the democratic deficit argument, one focusing on participation and the other on the public sphere. He considers a number of potential reforms and assesses them from each perspective.

  • Sonja Puntscher Riekmann considers the colliding modes of representation in the EU, and the complaints that has generated. EU citizens have recently been asked – by way of the Conference on the Future of Europe – for their ideas on the development of the union. This essay listens to what they had to say about democracy.

  • Valentin Kreilinger reflects on democratic control over EU and national budgets. The EU’s response to the economic fallout from COVID-19, Next Generation EU, has created closer ties between national and EU-level budgetary procedures. Parliaments must therefore play a greater role in scrutinising this process, Kreilinger argues.

  • Christopher Lord considers the dual threats of populism and the failure to satisfactorily deal with externalities between states. The two threats seem to feed off one another, Lord argues, and EU representative democracy needs to fend off both.

The volume does not provide a common set of recommendations – instead it hopes to contribute to the debate on the future of democracy in the EU.