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Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The Legitimacy Problems of the EU Summary for PSIR 514.

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Presentation on theme: "Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The Legitimacy Problems of the EU Summary for PSIR 514."— Presentation transcript:

1 Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The Legitimacy Problems of the EU Summary for PSIR 514

2 Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 1. Theories of the Social Bases of Politics

3 Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE Easton's theory explains how support for institutions change ● Affective support: non-material attachment to a political institution – provides a basic level of support independent of results ● Utilitarian support: economic or political cost- benefit analysis ● These two types of support are not contradictory but related: Cost-benefit calculations determine whether the underlying level of support goes up or down over time

4 Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 2. Public Support for the European Union: End of the Permissive Consensus

5 Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE The permissive consensus in favour of integration disappeared ● In the beginning of the integration process there was a favourable prevailing attitude toward European integration ● Widespread opposition to the EU emerged during ratification process of Maastricht treaty ● Anti-European parties successful in European elections ● Reasons: Deeper integration creates winners and losers, Eastern enlargement, loss of national sovereignty

6 Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin IUE Between 1991 and 2003 support fell dramatically in the founding MS ● More than 20% Minus in Germany, France, Italy ● Less support in all MS but Sweden ● Huge differences among MS at the start of the integration process

7 As a reaction a European Convention elaborated a Constitutional Treaty ● Task: Reform of the institutional architecture, trigger a public debate, bring EU closer to the citizens ● Membership: Delegations of national governments, national parliaments, EP, Commission ● Suggested a constitutional treaty in July 2003 which was accepted by the member states, but failed in public referendum in France and Netherlands in 2005

8 The Lisbon Treaty replaced the Constitutional Treaty ● After a reflection period member states agreed on the Lisbon Treaty in December 2007 ● Basic change was just the name (amended the existing treaties instead of a new treaty) ● Ireland rejected LT in a public referendum in 2008, but accepted it in a second referendum in 2009 (in return for concessions such keeping 1 commissioner per country) ● LT in force December 2009

9 Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin Key elements of Lisbon Treaty (1) ● A European Council President: with a 2½ year term replacing the rotating presidency. ● A single foreign affairs post: created by merging the External Relations Commissioner with the CFSP High Representative. ● More powerful Parliament: by extending codecision with the Council of Ministers to more areas of policy.

10 Asst. Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürgin Key elements of Lisbon Treaty (2) ● More double majority voting: to new areas of policy in Council, from 2014 on. ● National parliaments engaged: by expanding scrutiny-time of legislation and enabling them to jointly compel the Commission to review or withdraw legislation. ● Citizens' Initiative: to be considered by the Commission if signed by 1 million citizens. ● Combating climate change: explicitly stated as an objective.

11 There are plenty motives for the rejection of the CT and LT ● Cost-benefit calculation: Low skilled workers fear competition in the European market ● Political ideology ● Leftist argument: dissatisfaction with liberalisation ● Rightist argument: erosion national sovereignty ● Lack of information about content of CT/LT ● Lack of political leadership of governments ● No clear vision for the future of the EU ● Lukewarm European commitment ● Perception of a Democratic Deficit of the EU

12 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 3. Sources and dimensions of legitimate governance

13 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 3a. Social-legitimacy

14 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Social legitimacy as precondition of governance ● The principle of popular sovereignty presuppose that the question of who constitutes the people has been settled to mutual agreement ● Majority decision making requires sufficient trust between citizens to accept that being outvoted does not constitute a threat to their essential interests

15 How much „we-feeling“ is necessary for the EU? (1) ● Neofunctionalists: transnational political identities could spill over from one elite to another before embracing a wider public ● Haas 1958: organised political actors would be gradually persuaded to shift their localities and expectations towards a new centre

16 How much “we-feeling” is necessary for the EU? (2) ● Intergovernmentalists: assume that political identities would and should remain national ● Moravcsik: preferences continue to be formed at the national level

17 How much we-feeling is necessary for the EU (3) ● Federalists: European identity exists because of common historical stages of society ● Christianity, Renaissance, Enlightenment, industrialisation ● Common founding goal of the EU: avoid repetition of war ● Common enterprise: ever closer union as concept to master the globalisation

18 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Assessment: EU does not need the same strong identity as on nation state level ● non-state political system ● No monopoly of violence ● No right to dig deep into the taxpayers pocket ● But „thin” European identity is needed ● European public forum of shared communication ● Acceptance of majority decisions ● Performance can create stronger common identity

19 Empirical analysis: Does an European identity exist? ● Many citizens have more than 1 identity ● Multiple identities tend to be cumulative rather than contradictory ● Trust to other nationalities has grown from 1.55 to 1.75 (scale 0-3) between , compared to a steady level of 2.25 between members of the same national community (Eurobarometer) ● Existence of European identity differs between the member states

20 Delhey-Survey: South Eastern Enlargement decreases trust level ● The publics of six founding member states trust each other ● Low level of trust of citizen of the old member states in citizens from the new post socialist member states ● Low trust also among CEEC citizens ● But: trust level in EU-6 was also low at the beginning of integration process Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics

21 Why do nations trust other nationalities? ● Delhey (2007: 271): ● The more developed a nation is, the more trusted its people are ● Trust is higher between culturally related countries ● Powerful nations are perceived with some caution, no matter how culturally close or modern they are ● Therefore: Turkey’s EU membership would decrease trust level Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics

22 Perception of European identity shapes the proposals for appropriate EU governance ● Strong European identity – far reaching supranational policies possible ● Weak sense of European identity – limited space for supranational policies ● Solution: combine social legitimacy of national and supranational level

23 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 3b. The Input-dimension of legitimacy

24 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Political power should be authorised and accountable ● Solution: election by the people of a political system ● Because of uncertainty about existence of European people dual political leadership: unelected Commission and Council of Ministers accountable to national parliaments and electorates

25 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The legitimisation of governance via Council is problematic ● Meeting in non-transparent manner ● National elections don't deal with European issues ● Problem of QMV: If national governments are not in a position to veto proposals they cannot be held accountability to their national parliament ● Role of the Commission: not a technocratic bureaucracy but quasi-government

26 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Therefore supranational input- legitimacy was strengthened ● Appointment function of the EP strengthened: New Commission has to be confirmed by the EP ● Legislative function of the EP strengthened ● QMV linked to co-decision ● Final say over the annual budget

27 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The empowerment of the EP remains however limited ● No power in important policy areas ● Commission president is not the leader of the winning coalition in the EP-election ● No right to initiate legislation

28 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The empowerment of the EP itself has its limits ● EP-election are still second order in character and dominated by the national agenda ● Lack of European public debates: citizen is not aware of policy options ● Trend to grand coalition inside the EP ● Reluctance of elite and mass level to be governed by simple majoritarian politics

29 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Input legitimacy remains fragile ● Intergovernmental and supranational conceptions have their limits ● Perception of Democratic deficit is one reason for failed referendum about Constitutional Treaty ● Legitimacy via inclusion of organised interests depends on their representativeness

30 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics The Legitimacy Problems of the EU 3c. Output-dimension of legitimacy

31 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Output Legitimacy: Better results than at national level are possible ● Utilitarian justification of EU governance: added value in comparison to national governance ● EU doctrine of subsidiarity: The Union should only act where it is better placed than national gvt for reasons of scale or effect (TEU Art. 3b)

32 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics EU action justified if added value to national governance ● Many problems cannot be solved at the national level ● Pooling and delegation of sovereignty can increase the power of the national state ● The pubic has clear views on those policy areas which should be governed at EU ● Problem: Divisions about the right content of policies

33 Ass. Prof Dr. Alexander Bürgin Izmir University of Economics Summary: Alternative justifications for legitimate governance of the EU


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