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Future Europe: democracy or technocracy?: the role of European democratization in creating European identity - four future scenarios

Reijers, W.H.M. (2012) Future Europe: democracy or technocracy?: the role of European democratization in creating European identity - four future scenarios.

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Abstract:The financial crisis in Europe is providing grounds for changing the political union within the EU. However, it is not clear how this political union will be governed: whether it will be a democracy or a form of technocracy. This paper assesses the prospects of this political union on the basis of current efforts of European stakeholders to influence the democratization process. The model that I constructed is based on the two primary processes that are caused by the political union and that influence the democratization process. The first is institutionalization: institutional reforms – e.g. new electoral rules, an instituted European government that is democratically accountable. The second is network strengthening and embedding of EU policies on a democratic basis – e.g. European regulations at the level of regional governments or societal organizations. These two processes are modelled around the theoretical framework of “liberal cosmopolitan democratization”. The data collection was based on sources from institutional, political and societal actors that are concerned with the European democratization process. By means of a theory confirming case study that is based on the comparative politics method of Arend Lijphart, the data analysis was conducted by means of examining the presence of the aspects of liberal cosmopolitan democratization. Through the analysis, it became clear that the structures in the EU especially contribute to democratic institutionalization and network strengthening by means of the European parliament and the Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). However, the EP is argued to suffer a lack of representation and competition and the ECI’s bureaucratic threshold is argued to be too high to be truly democratic. Within the framework of the political union, current societal and institutional efforts seem to be focussing on the context of the political union – changing the financial, social and political order (network strengthening). The political efforts seem to be focussed on the content – the institutional setting in which the political union will be shaped (institutionalization). However, these efforts are being contradicted by current non-democratic policies of the European Commission and the lack of public and traditional political support. Regarding the impact of the democratization process on the level of European identity, I constructed four scenarios: democratic European identity, hollow European democracy, technocratic European identity and hollow European technocracy. The key uncertainties of these scenarios are the shaping of the political union and the democratization process within the EU. The prospect of the scenarios are especially depending two main issues: whether the EU institutions are taking a democratic or technocratic stance in solving the financial crisis and whether the democratization process is backed up by political forces at the European level.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:89 political science
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
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