The Crisis of Representation in Europe

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Taylor & Francis, 1995 - Law - 226 pages
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The early 1990s have witnessed a wave of populist disaffection from representative elites, regarded as promoting an agenda of European integration that does not attach sufficient importance to their peoples' concerns. The 1994 European Elections focused public attention on this crisis and the 16 contributors to this symposium critically assess the diagnosis of the ailment and the solutions that have been canvassed to remedy its causes and consequences. They start from a fundamental interrogation about whether representative institutions within the European Union can exist without a European people and argue that this requires the separation of citizenship from any ethnic-based sense of nationhood. Political parties have become simultaneously closer to government and lost touch with their electorates, while national parties have had problems in developing a European party system. Recourse to referendums as a way of providing public support for major decisions relating to the European Union demonstrate that the results reflect the popularity of the government asking the question rather than public attitudes on the issue itself. The enduring importance of national parliaments is emphasised in providing representative legitimacy as a basis of the developing European Union institutions, despite the fact that they have receded in their capacity to exercise control over their own national governments. The problems posed by pursuing European integration in a context of economic recession are discussed in terms of alternative explanations: an economic determinism that will lead to a resurgence of the intergrative impetus with the resumption of expansion or a structuralist inter-pretation inwhich the loss of political impetus derives mainly from the end of the Cold War and the globalisation of economic competition that remove the incentives to regional European integration. The technocratic emphasis has meant that inter-governmental bargaining has reached the limits of the practicable in an enlarged Union. This has led some to seek European integration through subnational mobilisation at the regional level, which is closer to the public in its preoccupation with day-to-day policy decisions. The current lack of public enthusiasm for European integration was reflected in the dishearteningly low turnout for the 1994 European elections, which continued to concentrate on national issues despite desultory efforts to promote transnational party campaigns. The current challenge to Europe's leaders is to persuade their peoples that what most of their representatives regard as indispensable should be implemented in the coming years.
 

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Contents

Preface Jack Hayward
1
Political Parties Popular Legitimacy
40
The Reshaping of National Party Systems Rudy Andeweg
58
The Failure of the National Parliaments? David Judge
79
Constitutional Reform in the European Community
118
Democracy or Technocracy? European Integration William Wallace
137
Economic Recession and Disenchantment with
158
Subnational Mobilisation in the European Union Liesbet Hooghe
175
Notes on Contributors
218
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