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Unformatted text preview: ALTERNATIVES TURKISH JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS www.alternativesjournal.net * Political Scientist in European Union Studies and Future Developments in Political Science, Salzburg University, [email protected] The European Union: From Schumpeterian Democracy to a European Public Sphere? Markus Pausch * One of the most discussed aspects of the so called democratic deFcit of the EU is the lack of a European public sphere. The Union’s de- mocracy is perceived by its citizens as Schumpeterian in nature and this perception corresponds to a large extent to reality. Schumpeter described democracy as the rule of the politician, who gains decision making power in the free competition over votes. The parliament’s role is of minor importance; it decides more by acceptance than by initiative. Citizens can neither bring up the issues nor decide them. The European Union is indeed an ideal platform for such a model, be- cause it is elitist, technocratic and rather complicated for the ordinary citizens. European integration was and still is an elite-dominated proj- ect, where citizens do not have many possibilities to intervene during legislation-periods. Over many years, the consensual behaviour of the political elites hindered the emergence of broad debate and of con¡ict in a European public sphere. As a consequence, scepticism towards the integration process became stronger in the Member States. At the beginning of the new millennium, politicians tried to turn the table by stressing the importance of the involvement of the citizens. A conven- tion was installed to work out a Constitutional Treaty. But once again, the debate remained elite-dominated. The heads of governments Fnally signed another elitist compromise without the broad involvement of the citizens. The rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in France and the Netherlands in 2005 can thus be considered as the result of an elitist and Schumpeterian model of democracy which is perpetuated by the new reform treaty of Lisbon. Thus, the claim for a European public sphere remains relevant, although scholars differently deFne such a sphere. The argument of this paper is that besides the often claimed Europeanization and transnationalisation of European debate, the no- tion of broad con¡ict is of high importance for the emergence of a European public sphere. Abstract : Keywords : European Union, Democracy, European Public Sphere ALTERNATIVES TURKISH JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS www.alternativesjournal.net The European Union: From Schumpeterian Democracy to a European Public Sphere? Markus Pausch 2 3 Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 2011 media and the citizens. Terms and formulations like ‘democratic deFcit’, ‘eurocracy’ or ’the missing link to the citizens’ have become common in recent years to describe this perception (e.g. Bruell/Mokre/Pausch, 2009). ‘Brussels’ today stands for much more than merely the Belgian capital. It has almost become a Kafkaesque metaphor for bureaucracy and opacity.for bureaucracy and opacity....
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course COMM 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.
- Fall '08