How to Democratize the European Union...and Why Bother?

By (author) Philippe C. Schmitter

Publication date:

12 April 2000

Length of book:

160 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780847699049

A contradictory creation indeed, the European Union has most of the institutions of a modern democracy, yet it does not function as one. Moreover, its growing scope of activity and supranational decision making processes are undermining the legitimacy of democracy in its member states. Much has been written about this double 'democratic deficit,' but surprisingly little thought has been given to what to do about it_short of drafting and ratifying a new federal constitution. In this provocative book, Philippe C. Schmitter explores both the possibility and the desirability of democratizing the EU. He argues that as a 'non-state' and a 'non nation' it will have to invent new forms of citizenship, representation, and decisionmaking if it is ever to democratize itself. The author also contends that the timing and political context work against a full-scale constitutionalization of the process. He proposes a number of modest (and some less modest) reforms that could improve the situation in the near future and eventually lead to a genuine Euro-democracy.
Schmitter's book is a timely and valuable contribution to European integration literature. The book is to be recommended not only to anyone with interest in European integration but also to comparativists who focus on transitions to democracy.