Richard Bellamy, Professor of Political Science, UCL and Director of the Max Weber Programme, EUI. Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter.
The muted popular support for, and certain failings of, the EU are often attributed to its suffering from a democratic deficit at the level of European institutions. The standard response to this problem proposes that EU decision making be rendered more accountable to EU citizens by strengthening the powers of the European Parliament and linking the composition of the Commission directly to the results of the EP elections. In my new book: "A Republican Europe of States: Cosmopolitanism, Intergovernmentalism and Democracy in the EU", I dispute this analysis. I argue that the EU’s role consists of supporting the democratic institutions of the member states, not least by enabling them to regulate their mutual interactions in non-dominating ways. From this perspective, the standard solution to the EU’s democratic deficit would create a domestic democratic deficit within each of the member states, one I contend democracy at the EU level would be unable to compensate for. Indeed, the current rise in Euro scepticism can be regarded as a product of this situation. By contrast, I suggest we conceive the EU as an association of democratic states, the decisions of which are under their joint and equal control. Drawing on the book, the talk will cover why such an arrangement is necessary, the norms that govern it, and the institutional framework required for it to work effectively and efficiently as well as equitably.
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