Democratic Empowerment in the European Union
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Democratic Empowerment in the European Union

Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

This book looks at democratic empowerment via institutional designs that extend the political rights of European citizens. It focuses on three themes: first, the positive and negative effects of the European Union institutional design on the political rights of its citizens; second, challenges for democratic regimes across the world in the 21st century in the context of regionalism and globalization; third, the constraints of neoliberalism and capitalist markets on the ability of citizens to effectively achieve their political rights within the Union.
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Chapter 11: The financialization of European Union citizenship: an alternative to democratic empowerment

Hanan Haber and David Levi-Faur


Chapter 11 by Hanan Haber and David Levi-Faur deals with the financialization of European Union (EU) citizenship. The promotion of European citizenship and participation of citizens in EU decision making are key aims of the EU. However, while considerable attention has been focused on citizenship in the political sphere, less has been said about the meaning of citizenship in the economic, social and financial spheres. Following the literature on the financialization of everyday life, this study focuses on the meaning of citizenship in the financial sphere. They illustrate the image of an ideal European financial citizen, as reflected in (and shaped by) EU regulation. The chapter compares this image in two EU directives, on credit (2008) and on payment accounts (2014), and highlights the influences which shaped it, with a particular focus on new forms of citizen participation. The chapter argues that the image of the ideal financial citizen reflected in these directives is that of a confident, empowered and active citizen, ‘making markets work’. At the same time, this image is complemented by the image of a vulnerable citizen, both shielded from the market and encouraged to participate in it. The chapter concludes by arguing that financial citizenship is at the same time more demanding and more inclusive than political citizenship. While it requires high levels of human capital, time and attention to detail, it is open to those with the will to participate in the market.

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