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The European UnionDemocratic Principles and Institutional Architectures in Times of Crisis$
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Simona Piattoni

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716273.001.0001

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Popular Power in the European Union

Popular Power in the European Union

Delegated or Alienated?

Chapter:
(p.46) 3 Popular Power in the European Union
Source:
The European Union
Author(s):

Hans Agné

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716273.003.0003

The important role played by national governments in the creation of European institutions and policies is often invoked to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. As long as leaders of all states constitutive of the EU are democratically elected, the EU has a reasonable claim to democratic legitimacy for itself, regardless of how it creates policies and institutions on an everyday basis. The powers of the EU are delegated by, and not alienated from, national democracies. Notwithstanding the importance in political practice of this attempt at defending the democratic legitimacy of the EU, this chapter suggests that it fails on theoretical grounds alone and that the normative problem indicated by this failure is aggravated as a consequence of the euro crisis. The chapter identifies more promising avenues toward a legitimate EU by examining democracy defined as a particular form of constituent power.

Keywords:   democracy, legitimacy, delegation, alienation, crisis, constituent power

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