The global democratic boom, which transformed much of the world's political landscape in the three decades between 1974 and 2004, has also had an indelible impact on international law, most notably in the development of the ‘democratic entitlement’ claim—namely, that in a world increasingly dominated by democracies there exists an emergent enforceable right to democratic governance in international law. But what would become of the democratic entitlement if the boom turned to bust? The question is no longer hypothetical. For a decade now the momentum of world politics has turned increasingly against democracy's champions. While the dramatic gains of the late twentieth century have not been erased, the global democratic wave hit the shoal somewhere around 1999–2000, plateaued between 2000 and 2005, and has since suffered sustained reversals. This article re-examines the democratic entitlement thesis in light of these recent negative trends in democracy's international fortunes. It argues that the right to democratic governance is a layered, and potentially severable, edifice, parts of which now seem to be eroding, but which is unlikely to be entirely undone by a reverse wave of democratic breakdowns and resurgent authoritarianism. The article then examines some of the main implications of the current democratic recession for the right to democratic governance in international law.
Amichai Magen and Laurent Pech
This chapter traces the origins and evolution of the concept of the idea and ideal of the rule of law within the EC/EU governance system. It proceeds to delineate the four main areas in which the rule of law forms a central pillar of EC/EU identity and activity. The chapter then provides a cross-cutting, critical review of the EU-rule of law nexus, identifying key debates where the concept of the rule of law plays a substantial role in contemporary EU studies, as well as where the EU governance system can be said to be lacking in terms of its adherence to the salient constitutive features of the rule of law. Throughout, the chapter places emphasis on the identification of key concepts, areas of activity, and debates so as to facilitate future research into the EU-rule of law nexus.