14 Democratic self-determination, he insists, requires that choices made by the given political system be driven by the authentic preferences of citizens. This suggests a chain of accountability linking those governing to those governed. It is input legitimation. But ‘democracy’, most commonly understood in terms of this form of legitimacy, is only part of the story of political legitimacy, which also demands that those exercising political power are able to achieve a high degree of effectiveness in meeting the expectations of the governed citizens. The democratic process is, for Scharpf, an `empty ritual’ without such delivery - output legitimacy. 15 Scharpf argues vigorously and persuasively that, although the Union is regularly and (to some extent) justifiably criticised for deficiencies in input legitimacy, too little attention is paid to the inadequacies of states when judged from the standpoint of output legitimacy. The problem confronting the state has been felicitously portrayed as lying in its ‘changing basis of legitimacy…from pure domination to performance of functional duties’ which it may be less able to discharge effectively than other types of organisations. 16 Neglect of this functional decline tends to breed an inflated assumption of the claim of states to legitimacy. Scharpf’s key point is that, in at least some policy areas, it may be possible to conceive of the EU as capable of legitimation by reference to its output, even if input legitimation is lacking. In a similar vein, Giandemenico Majone argues that the Union represents and should represent a ‘regulatory state’. Consequently, it is wholly appropriate that it relies largely on output legitimation. The unelected nature of the Commission and Court serve to 14 F. W. Scharpf, ‘Economic Integration, Democracy and the Welfare state’ (1997) 4(1) Journal of European Public Policy , 18; F. W. Scharpf, Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). 15 Grant and Keohane use the notions of participation and delegation models to make a very similar distinction (R. W. Grant and R. O. Keohane, ‘Accountability and Abuses of Power in World Politics’ (2005) 99(1) American Political Science Review 29). 16 S. Bartolini, ‘Old and New Peripheries in the Processes of European Territorial Integration’ in Restructuring Territoriality , C. K. Ansell and G. di Palma (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) 26. 6
Menon and Weatherill Democratic Politics in a Globalising World ensure the Pareto optimality of its regulatory decisions, which would be compromised by resort to processes of input legitimation. 17 Such insights carry great weight in guiding our understanding of the problems associated with the growth of regulatory activity `above’ the state. They are particularly valuable in emphasising the value that is properly attached to output legitimacy. This is especially important in the light of the effect that EU membership exerts in confining the policy options available to Member states, while not recreating equal opportunities for rule-making at transnational level.
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