EU Democracy and the Committee of the Regions
Conclusion: shaping policy from below and the future of the Committee of the Regions
In concluding this overview of the remarkable institutionalization of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) during the first 20 years of its existence (1994–2014) and in assessing its distinct contribution to EU democracy, we would like to dwell at greater length on the notion of ‘shaping policy from below’, which is the central argument of our book. In attempting one more time to indicate how the CoR contributes to the active and passive aspects of judgment (issuing voice and exerting control), we would also like to reinforce the idea that having decision or veto power (expressing will) is not the sole nor the most important contribution to democratic policy-making. In making this argument we know that we are fighting an uphill battle as many policy-makers (and also many of our colleagues) believe that only the expression of will carries real power. We have, however, striven to show – and we will attempt to demonstrate once again – that there is a subtler and democratically perhaps more important type of power: the power to shape policies. Just in case that it is necessary, let us rephrase again the reason why we think that judgment is as important if not a more important component of democracy than will and why we think that representative rather than direct democracy is the right way to go in assuring EU legitimacy.
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