Kiernan, Annabel K. (1997) "Citizenship: The real democratic deficit of the European Union?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
Given the pressures of globalisation, the nation state is limited in its control over public policy agendas, particularly in the field of social policy. The response of domestic governments to the heat of international competition has been to create more flexible, post-welfare state economies. A significant consequence of this development is the removal of social rights and the acceleration of social exclusion. This gap which has opened up could be filled by the European Union, but it has so far failed to take a leading role in this regard. So, as European citizens we should be concerned that the forces which operate to balance the harsher effects of the free market have been lost at the European, supranational level. There are three central reasons why this is the case: 1) the EU consists of fifteen member states with competing, historically rooted understandings of social protection and, therefore, social rights; 2) defining social rights is traditionally a state derived function and as such, the absence of an EU state means the absence of comprehensive citizen protection; 3) these two factors are magnified by the relative weaknesses of the supranational institutions and democratic deficit between the key EU institutions (weak vis-à-vis member state governments and with regard to the supremacy of the market).
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