Mixed representation and legitimacy in the European Union
2007 (English)In: Journal of European Integration, ISSN 0703-6337, Vol. 29, 285-302 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A central critique against the European Union's (EU's) system of representation is that it strikes an uneven balance between the three traditional channels of representation. Directly elected representatives are said to be uniquely powerless in relation to territorial representatives and representatives of organized interests. In the article, this argument is scrutinized within a comparative framework, using a selection of existing data on democratic systems from around the world. The study confirms that the EU's system of representation attributes great importance to territorial representation. However, the main finding is that it is not unique in this regard. Moreover, organized interests at the European level do not seem exceptionally powerful, in terms of their capacity to act collectively to influence policy. These findings are interpreted in the light of current research on the EU's legitimacy, resulting in two additional conclusions. While the EU's formal legitimacy would be enhanced by a push towards electoral politics at the European level, its social legitimacy hinges on a continued existence of territorial representation. Striking the proper balance between channels of representation at the European level stands out as a future challenge to researchers and political actors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2007. Vol. 29, 285-302 p.
mixed representation; European Union; electoral politics; bicameralism; organized interests; legitimacy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-26723DOI: 10.1080/07036330701442281OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-26723DiVA: diva2:54590