[@] Political Representation and European Union Governance



Journal of European Public Policy

Special  Issue on Political Representation and EU Governance edited by Peter Mair and Jacques Thomassen   

Volume 17, Issue n°1 (2010)









- Democracy without democracy? Can the EU's democratic ‘outputs’ be separated from the democratic ‘inputs’ provided by competitive parties and majority rule ? Richard Bellamy Pages 2 – 19   Résumé : Various European Union (EU) analysts suggest that although a democratic deficit exists from the perspective of 'input' democracy, democratic processes such as competitive parties and majority rule are neither necessary nor suitable to secure democratic 'outputs' of the kind the EU delivers. This article disputes this claim. 'Input' arguments are vital to the legitimacy of decision-making in the EU's policy areas, and the non- and counter-majoritarian mechanisms these analysts advocate have perverse rather than beneficial effects on the quality of 'outputs'. Mots-clés : Democratic deficit; 'input' and 'output' democracy; majority rule.     - Political representation and government in the European Union Peter Mair; Jacques Thomassen Pages 20 – 35   Résumé : This paper addresses two particular aspects of the much debated democratic deficit in European Union (EU) governance - the absence of a system of party government at the European level, whereby parties in the Parliament lack the capacity to effectively control the governing bodies of the EU, and the apparent failings in the capacity of parties at the European level to represent the will of the citizens of Europe. We question the self-evidence of the recommendation that the Union adapt to conventional party government models at the national level and argue that since many of the conditions facilitating the effective fusion of the functions of representation and of control of the government no longer pertain, it may actually prove unwise to seek to replicate this process at the European level. We go on to take issue with the traditional view that the European process of political representation fails mainly because political parties do not compete on so-called European issues. Despite a poor process of political representation at the European level, European elections and political parties appear to serve quite effectively as instruments of political representation. We conclude by suggesting that the effectiveness of political representation at the European level owes much to the absence of party government, such that, paradoxically, one of the most commonly cited aspects of the democratic deficit thereby appears to alleviate the other. Mots-clés : Democratic deficit; European Union; party government; representation.     - The European Parliament: one parliament, several modes of political representation on the ground? David M. Farrell & Roger Scully Pages 36 – 54   Résumé : In this article we explore the potential for electoral systems to influence the attitudes and behaviour of elected representatives. Focusing on what we term 'geographical representation', or representation on the ground, we consider how variation in electoral systems may be expected to relate to different forms of, and priorities in, political representation. We then explain how - European Union (EU) legislation on 'uniform electoral procedures' notwithstanding - the European Parliament (EP) offers a uniquely powerful research site for investigating these questions. Finally, we explore recent survey evidence on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) which suggests that, in several respects, electoral system variation does shape how they understand, and seek to carry out, their role as elected representatives. Mots-clés : Electoral systems; European Parliament; parliamentary representation.     - Consistent choice sets? The stances of political parties towards European integration in ten Central East European democracies, 2003–2007 Robert Rohrschneider & Stephen Whitefield Pages 55 – 75   Résumé : Political representation in Western democracies is largely accomplished through and by parties. Surprisingly, however, few studies directly examine how well parties in post-communist democracies function as effective agents of representation. Furthermore, the few exceptions to this rule focus on one time point only even though the concept of representation contains a dynamic component: parties need to offer consistent choices in order to communicate with voters in ways that provide clear alternatives to voters, and that establish incentives for parties to follow through on election promises. We therefore examine party stances towards European integration between 2003 and 2007. Contrary to the predominantly negative assessments in the research literature, we find that parties' policy stances establish several preconditions for political representation in new democracies in Central East Europe (CEE). Mots-clés : Consistency; party policy; post-communist parties; representation.     - ‘With or without you’? Revisiting territorial state-bypassing in EU interest representation Michaël Tatham Pages 76 – 99   Résumé : Both the number and the powers of sub-state entities in the European Union (EU) have grown. These sub-state entities represent their European interests using both intra- and extra-state channels. The increasing use of the latter has encouraged scholarly literature to focus on the emerging 'paradiplomacy' of these entities. Sub-state paradiplomacy, however, can be both conducted in tandem with its member state or bypassing it. This article seeks to better understand such patterns of interaction between state and sub-state interest representation. Using original survey data, it tests five different hypotheses about the determinants of state bypassing and non-bypassing. It argues that devolution of powers and party politics are relevant factors explaining the frequency of bypassing and co-operative interest representation. Other factors, including size, financial resources and length of exposure to the integration process do not seem to play a role. Mots-clés : Devolution; interest representation; paradiplomacy; party politics; state-bypassing     - Civil society and EU democracy: ‘astroturf’ representation? Beate Kohler-Koch Pages 100 – 116   Résumé : The growing uneasiness about the democratic deficit of the European Union (EU) has incited politicians and academics alike to look for remedies other than institutional reforms and giving more powers to the European Parliament. Strategies of 'good governance' shifted centre stage and the governance turn initiated a lively discourse on the democratic credentials of involving civil society. This article presents the changing views on the role of civil society in EU discourse. Al though the Commission and even the Constitutional Convention put high hopes on the legitimacy input of civil society, a representation discourse is conspicuously absent. The article introduces an analytical framework to assess the contributions and limitations of civil society to democratic representation in EU governance. Mots-clés : Democratic deficit; European civil society; participatory governance; representation     - The EU's many representative modes: Colliding? Cohering? Christopher Lord & Johannes Pollak Pages 117 – 136   Résumé : At first glance the European Union's (EU's) compound form of representation allows a wide-ranging spectrum of actors to claim to be representative, and allows different channels to feed their demands and interests into the political system. While this may be understood as a redeeming feature of supranational politics, this article sounds a note of caution. The historically developed system of representation comprising different principles and practices may combine in ways that undermine standards by which claims to political representation can be justified. First, it is demonstrated that the urge to combine multiple channels of representation has its roots in the history and theory of representation itself. Second, we show the development of the EU's compound form of representation. Third, tests of how well principles and practices of representation combine in the European arena are proposed. It is shown that the EU's specific combination of representative practices hardly allows for ensuring public control with political equality. Mots-clés : Democracy; European Union; representation