The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty by the French and Dutch citizens in the referendum of spring 2005 has caused a revival of the EU's legitimacy issue. It was also evidence for the fact that both the continuous strengthening of the European Parliament's powers one the one hand and the Commission's strategy for a good governance on the other hand were unable to provide a satisfactory answer to the persistent questioning of the EU's legitimacy . The concept of legitimacy is founded on three kinds of elements: its legality (the rule of law), its capacity to respect the sovereignty of the people (through elections, representation, and accountability), and the democratic nature of its political outcome in terms of efficiency and rights protection for instance. Furthermore, legitimacy assumes the consent of citizens and recognition by other political organizations .
[...] The fact the modèle parlementaire reste un élément structurant de la réforme des traités” is an evidence for the national leaders to be impregnated with the belief that parliamentarism is best able to democratize and thus legitimize the EU. The cognitive factor puts therefore a first limit the substituting of parliamentarism with post-parliamentary strategies: unlike parliamentarism, principles and modalities of “good governance” are neither universally known nor recognized by political leaders and citizens: they can therefore hardly constitute a basis for legitimizing the EU in the eyes of the wider public. [...]
[...] Participation, Democracy, Legitimacy, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York p Ibid., p Olivier Costa, Le parlementarisme au-delà de l'Etat : le cas de l'Union européenne in Oliver Costa, Eric Kerrouche et Paul Magnette Vers une renouveau du parlementarisme en Europe Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles p Adrienne Héritier, “Elements of democratic legitimation in Europe, an alternative perspective, in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol.6, No p. 274-275. Also Adrienne Héritier: “Composite democracy in Europe: the role of transparency and access to information” in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol No Also Christopher Lord and David Beetham, “Legitimizing the EU: Is there a “Post-parliamentary Basis” for its legitimation? in: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol No p 451- 452. Adrienne Héritier, op. cit p Jean-Paul Jacqué, Droit institutionnel de l'Union européenne (Third edition), Dalloz p 223. European Commission, European Governance. A White [...]
[...] Finally, the consultation of stakeholders should increase its problem- solving capacity through the emergence of consensual and solutions” as a result of the deliberative process, allowing for a better implementation. Secondly, and by the way, consultation allows interest groups to bring some pluralistic and democratic input into the EU policy-making. The various post-parliamentary strategies described above are promoted particularly by the Commission that seeks to put forward new practices in conformity with its theory of good governance, as described in its 2001 White Paper. [...]
[...] Thus, in the contrary to what the term “post-parliamentary” seems to imply, parliamentarism has been constantly developing at the EU level and cannot be qualified as obsolete. Consequently, the ways of better combining the two is a crucial issue regarding the chances to enhance the EU's legitimacy in the future. A necessary combination of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary legitimation in a composite democracy Institutional opportunism As depicted throughout this essay, the EU as witnessed simultaneously a remarkable increase of powers of the EP and the establishment of norms for new modes of governance. [...]
[...] However, the debate cannot be reduced to an alternative between good old parliamentarism and new technocratic governance. The original nature of the EU requires a reflection on how to accommodate these competing models of legitimacy in order to meet the democratic imperative. The EU still faces a dilemma between impossible holism of national democracy and problematic fragmentation of new governance, between unity and diversity, between collective identity and individual differentiation. In the aftermath of the French and Dutch referenda on the European Constitution, Commissioner for institutional relations and communication strategy M. [...]
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