Conclusion: The EU as a Democratic Polity?

  • Claudia Wiesner
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


The conclusion sums up the main results of the book and discusses whether and to what degree democracy is possible in the EU’s multilevel system in the context of liberal capitalism. Seven problem fields and possible remedies are discussed, namely (1) an over-bureaucratisation, (2) expert dominance, and (3) an over-constitutionalisation, (4) differentiated integration, (5) the effects of negative integration, (6) the lack of an idea and a practice of the EU common good, and (7) a weakly developed demos. Possible solutions refer, first, to enlarging institutional and political spaces for democracy by getting back decision-making into directly legitimate bodies and the public realm, and second, by politicising the EU, which would third enhance the development of an EU demos.


  1. Ankersmit, F.R. 2002. Political Representation. Cultural Memory in the Present. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Crouch, Colin. 2015. “Comment on Wolfgang Merkel, ‘Is Capitalism Compatible with Democracy?’.” Zeitschrift für vergleichende Politikwissenschaft 9 (1–2): 61–71.
  3. Dahl, Robert A. 2000. On Democracy. Yale Nota bene. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Diamond, Larry Jay, and Leonardo Morlino. 2004. “The Quality of Democarcy. An Overview.” Journal of Democracy 15 (4): 20–31.Google Scholar
  5. European Commission. 2017. “White Paper on the Future of Europe: Avenues for Unity for the EU at 27.” Accessed March 30, 2017.
  6. Grimm, Dieter. 2017. The Constitution of European Democracy. With the Assistance of J. Collings, 1st ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Haas, Ernst B. 1968. The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social, and Economic Forces 1950–1957. Reissued. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hix, Simon, and Bjørn Kåre Høyland. 2011. The Political System of the European Union. 3rd ed. The European Union Series. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Hooghe, Liesbet, and Gary Marks. 2009. “A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permissive Consensus to Constraining Dissensus.” British Journal of Political Science 39 (1): 1–23.
  10. Hutter, Swen, Edgar Grande, and Hanspeter Kriesi (eds.). 2016. Politicising Europe: Integration and Mass Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kauppi, Niilo, and Claudia Wiesner. 2018. “Exit Politics, Enter Politicization.” Journal of European Integration 1–7.
  12. Kauppi, Niilo, Kari Palonen, and Claudia Wiesner. 2016. “The Politification and Politicisation of the EU.” Redescriptions 19 (1): 72–90.Google Scholar
  13. Lavdas, Kostas A., and Dimitris Chryssochou. 2005. “Redesigning Europe: A Liberal Republicanist Approach.” Working Paper 2/2005.Google Scholar
  14. Lindberg, Leon N., and Stuart A. Scheingold. 1970. Europe’s Would-be Polity: Patterns of Change in the European Community. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Merkel, Wolfgang. 2004. “Embedded and Defective Democracies.” Democratization 11 (5): 33–58.
  16. Offe, Claus. 2015. Europe Entrapped. Cambridge and Malden: Polity.Google Scholar
  17. Schmitter, Philippe C. 1969. “Three Neo-functional Hypotheses About International Integration.” International Organization 23 (1): 161.
  18. Statham, Paul, and Hans-Jörg Trenz. 2013. The Politicization of Europe: Contesting the Constitution in the Mass Media. Routledge Studies on Democratising Europe. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Streeck, Wolfgang. 2014. Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. Brooklyn, NY: Verso.Google Scholar
  20. Tömmel, Ingeborg. 2014. The European Union: What It Is and How It Works. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Wiesner, Claudia. 2017a. “Möglichkeiten und Grenzen repräsentativer Demokratie in der EU-Finanzhilfenpolitik.” Integration (1): 33–47.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2017b. “Representative Democracy in Times of Austerity. New Challenges in the EU Multi-level System.” In Austerity: A Journey to an Unknown Territory, edited by Roland Sturm, Tim Griebel, and Thorsten Winkelmann, 287–304. Special issue, Zeitschrift für Politik (special issue 8).Google Scholar
  23. Zürn, Michael. 2015. “Opening Up Europe: Next Steps in Politicisation Research.” West European Politics 39 (1): 164–182.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Social and Cultural SciencesFulda University of Applied SciencesFuldaGermany

Personalised recommendations