038 Europe’s Democratic Deficit and Perspectives Of a New Republican Paradigm / The Democratic Process In Crisis and Impacts On European Integration

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
C0.23 (Oudemanhuispoort)
The euro crisis is changing our understanding of European integration. The economy pushes toward more integration, politics resist this move. Europe’ double deficit of democracy and social justice is causing a growing legitimacy gap. In this panel we will look whether the republican paradigm can offer an alternative to close the gap.

Modern republicanism links democracy and social justice. Defining freedom as non-domination, it addresses the question: “who governs me?” and relates citizens to self-government and concern for the common good. This common good is jointly defined in a democratic political community in accordance with shared ideas of social justice.

At stake here is the concept of sovereignty. For statist (Hobbesian) republicanism there can be no justice outside the state, which obtains the legitimacy of laws from democratic consent. For communitarians the sovereign expresses the pre-political shared values of the community. The statist interpretation can justify centralising federalism and a European super state. The communitarian view objects that there can be no European democracy because there is no European “Volk” (community). The synthesis is intergovernmentalism, which proves inefficient because it violates the principle of freedom as non-domination.

An alternative approach is to start with common or public goods, which are defined by the externalities they generate for citizens. The problem of European governance is then reduced to how this limited class of goods is to be administrated, rather than how society in its totality must be shaped. Social justice is a matter of fairness in the distribution of cost and benefits derived from these European public goods.

Vivien A. Schmidt
Thilo Zimmermann
Voting Against the Government in Times of Economic Crisis
Marian Antonius Bohl, University of Zurich; Hanspeter Kriesi, European University Institute
The European Union as a Republic
Stefan Collignon, S. Anna School of Advanced Studies
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