EU Administrative Governance
Show Less

EU Administrative Governance

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alexander H. Türk

This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of the reality of government and governance in the European Union (EU).
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 16: The Problem of Democratic Legitimacy in a Supranational Government

Torbjörn Larsson and Guenther F. Schaefer


Torbjörn Larsson and Guenther F. Schaefer INTRODUCTION The ambition in this chapter is to discuss to what extent traditional sources of democratic legitimacy can also be generated in a supranational European government.1 In defining legitimacy, three different methods are normally used. The first one, from a sociological perspective, stresses the extent to which the public is prepared to accept the government’s authority. The other one, from a legal perspective, emphasises whether the rulers have established and are adhering to predefined rules and regulations concerning public decision making. The third method builds on a culture of legitimacy, individuals sharing common values (language, ethnic origin, race, history, and so on) establish their own authority which is accepted as being part of a unique people or state. In other words, what goes into the decision-making machine as well as what comes out of it is of importance and it is possible to argue that non-democratic governments have legitimacy as well as democratic ones. But when legitimacy is applied to democratic governments the two concepts – legitimacy and democracy – become closely linked.2 Over the years the political system of the European Union has been compared to several other types of democratic government leading to the conclusion that it is rather different, if not unique. Thus, the European Union has been compared and contrasted to a parliamentary (majoritarian) or consensual government as well as with a federal (power sharing) government – all with different weak and strong points.3 A majoritarian government will, for example,...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.