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The Future of the Euro$
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Matthias Matthijs and Mark Blyth

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190233235

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190233235.001.0001

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The Forgotten Problem of Democratic Legitimacy

The Forgotten Problem of Democratic Legitimacy

“Governing by the Rules” and “Ruling by the Numbers”

Chapter:
(p.90) 5 The Forgotten Problem of Democratic Legitimacy
Source:
The Future of the Euro
Author(s):

Vivien A. Schmidt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190233235.003.0005

This chapter argues that the policies and processes adopted by the EU in the face of the euro crisis have in fact exacerbated long-standing problems of EU legitimacy and solidarity. Democratic legitimacy has suffered because Eurozone policies have failed to produce good outcomes and because EU citizens have even less say than ever over those policies. Indeed, the excessively intergovernmental processes of Eurozone crisis governance—in which the European Central Bank acts, the member-state leaders in the European Council decide, the European Parliament is side-lined, and the European Commission serves as a secretariat—have unbalanced the EU’s long-standing “democratic” settlement in which all three latter institutions pulled their weight. By “governing by the rules” and “ruling by the numbers,” EU institutional actors seem to have forgotten that democratic legitimacy demands not just rules to follow but policies that both work and appeal to the citizens.

Keywords:   democracy, legitimacy, European Central Bank, European Council, European Parliament, European Commission, Eurozone

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