Democracy and legitimacy in the EU: challenges and options
Johm Erik Fossum
IAI - CSF Working Paper - February 2016
It is widely held that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit, but there is no agreement on the specific nature of this deficit. In this paper, I start by specifying the nature of the democraticlegitimacy problem facing the multilevel EU. Two dimensions, the institutional-constitutional, and the socio-cultural, are highlighted. Next, I discuss how the context of crisis has transformed the EU. The many crises and their handling have not only exacerbated but to a considerable degree also altered the democratic-legitimacy problems facing the EU. In order to best capture these changes, it is useful to apply several possible democratic decision-making configurations. These are presented and assessed in terms of how well they capture the present challenges facing the EU. In the last part I discuss specific reform options and what they may imply for the Union’s democratic deficit.