Close window
 MPIfG Discussion Paper 12/6

Fritz W. Scharpf


Legitimacy Intermediation in the Multilevel European Polity and Its Collapse in the Euro Crisis


 

Abstract


 
At first glance, the social purpose and the democratic potential of the EU have made progress in the last 15 years. However, this impression is misleading. We argue instead that the social and democratic potentials of the EU are crucially shaped by the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism. First, we locate our argument in the integration literature and argue that political-economic heterogeneity shapes not only intergovernmental bargains but also the opportunities for judicial integration. Second, we document the heterogeneity among European varieties of capitalism and how it has increased with each round of enlargement. Third, we show how the heterogeneity of political-economic interests has led governments to opt for autonomy-protecting solutions whenever European initiatives have targeted highly sensitive institutions that constitute their different political-economic regimes. Fourth, we also show that, despite this, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has often overruled such autonomy-protecting measures by extending the reach and scope of the European fundamental freedoms. We conclude, fifth, that the asymmetry between market-enforcing and market-restricting integration is not likely to disappear in the near future, and that the heterogeneity of European varieties of capitalism limits not only the social but also the democratic potential of the EU.

 

Zusammenfassung


 
In der westlichen Tradition der normativen politischen Theorie beruht demokratische Legitimität auf der doppelten Grundlage republikanischer und liberaler Prinzipien. Für sich betrachtet entspricht die Europäische Union zwar liberalen Kriterien, aber eben nicht den republikanischen Anforderungen. Angesichts so unterschiedlicher Kriterien konnte es auch im Streit über das angebliche europäische Demokratiedefizit keine Einigung geben. Überdies ignorierte diese Diskussion den Mehrebenen-Charakter der europäischen Politik und das normative Potenzial der Legitimationsvermittlung zwischen Union und Bürgern durch die demokratisch verfassten Mitgliedstaaten. Die gegenwärtige Eurokrise allerdings zerstört die Fähigkeit demokratischer Mitgliedstaaten, die Ausübung europäischer Herrschaftsfunktionen zu legitimieren. Der Aufsatz erörtert die Implikationen dieser neuen Konstellation.

 

Contents


 
1   Introduction
 
2   Legitimacy discourses
        The republican discourse
        The liberal discourse
        Differences
 
3   Constitutional democracies – and the European Union?
 
4   Legitimacy intermediation in the multilevel European polity
 
5   The end of legitimacy intermediation in the euro crisis
        Monetary Union and the failure of output legitimacy
        Rescuing the euro through supranational intervention

 
6   Legitimate supranational government?
        Input-oriented European legitimacy?
 
7   Reducing the burden on European legitimacy
 
References

 
Close window