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Title: European Union governance and democracy
Authors: Caruana, Mireille Martine
Keywords: Democracy -- European Union countries
European Union -- Politics and government
Supranationalism -- European Union countries
Issue Date: 2002
Citation: Caruana, M. M. (2002). European Union governance and democracy (Master’s dissertation).
Abstract: In the first chapter of this thesis I attempt to give a general overview of what is meant when the term "democratic deficit" is employed with regard to the European Union. I analyse the various different meanings attributed to this term and whether it is generated as a result of the role of any one or more of the institutions of the Union in its legislative and decision-making processes. This thesis is divided into three central chapters, each of which deals with a different aspect of Union governance. I employ the terms used by Professor Weiler to describe the "three modes of governance", that is, "international" (or intergovernmental), "supranational" and "infranational", as the title to each chapter. In the second chapter I tackle the issue of the control of national governments in the intergovernmental mode of governance. I focus on the current system of holding frequent intergovernmental conferences, the outcomes of which are subject to ratification in each individual Member State, and consider various ways in which the current system may be reformed. Chapter three deals with the "supranational mode" of Union governance, by which I mean legislation passed and decisions taken according to the legislative processes of the European Union. I analyse how the quality of democracy in the Union may be improved by virtue of the involvement and coordinated action of all levels of parliamentary representation in the European Union, that is, the European Parliament at European level and national Parliaments at national level. I locate the root cause of the democratic deficit in the lack of openness of the Council of Ministers when acting in its legislative capacity. I submit that ensuring openness of the Council is absolutely essential in order to improve the democratic accountability of the Council and the legitimacy of legislative acts of the Union. Chapter four contains an analysis of the democratic challenge at the infranational level of governance and acknowledges the necessity of a new paradigm of democratic legitimacy which would ensure that committees and independent agencies may also be held democratically accountable for their decisions. In my concluding chapter I subscribe to Deirdre M. Curtin's vision of a "postnational democracy" expressing the idea that democracy is possible beyond the nation-state. Finally, I ask whether a conception of European democracy does in fact already exist.
Description: LL.D.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacLaw - 1958-2009

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