Democratic representation in the EU: Two kinds of subjectivity

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


While the Lisbon Treaty embraces representative democracy and political equality, a clear division or hierarchy of competences is absent. The Treaty distinguishes between an electoral, a territorial, a functional and a direct channel of representation, without clarifying the relationship between them. Moreover, the current system of representation has two different normative subjects: the individual and the state. The former points towards an integrated European polity with state-like characteristics, while the latter treats the EU as an advanced intergovernmental organization. The former is primarily enacted through electoral, functional and potentially direct representation, whereas the latter is primarily enacted through territorial representation. We argue that these two kinds of subjectivity relate to political equality in different ways, and that they are mixed within the same channels of representation. The mix of these two forms of subjectivity in the different channels of representation contributes to the blurring of political equality for each of the subjectivities. We disagree with the interpretation of the EU's compound system of representation as being democratic, therefore. Different levels and channels of representation only make for democratic representation if they succeed in realizing the norms of political equality and public control. To realize these norms, however, certain minimum criteria need to be fulfilled, and these are not met in the EU.
ZeitschriftJournal of European Public Policy
Seiten (von - bis)171-189
Anzahl der Seiten19
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.02.2013

Bibliographische Notiz

Special Issue: The representative turn in EU studies