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EUROGOV No. C-05-02
Andreas Follesdal and Simon Hix

Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik

Published: March 14, 2005


In a series of recent papers, Giandomenico Majone and Andrew Moravcsik have ‘raised the bar’ in the debate over the so-called ‘democratic deficit’ in the European Union. These two influential scholars both contend that much of the existing analysis is flawed and that the EU is as democratic as it could, and even should, be. We accept many of Moravcsik’s and Majone’s arguments. However, we disagree about one key element: that a democratic polity requires contestation for political leadership and argument over the direction of the policy agenda. This aspect, which is ultimately the difference between a democracy and an enlightened form of authoritarianism, is an essential element of even the ‘thinnest’ theories of democracy, yet is conspicuously weak in the EU.

Keywords: democracy, European elections, legitimacy, non-majoritarian institutions, normative political theory, political parties, public opinion, Constitution for Europe, agenda-setting

Andreas Follesdal – University of Oslo
Simon Hix – London School of Economics and Political Science

© 2005 Andreas Follesdal and Simon Hix

Citing this EUROGOV paper:
Follesdal, Andreas, and Simon Hix. 2005. Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik. European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) No. C-05-02,

you will find a revised version of 'Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik' in:
Journal of Common Market Studies, 2006, Vol 44, No 3, 533-62.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5965.2006.00650.

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