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Connecting National and Supranational Democracy: Lessons from the Making of the EU Constitutional Treaty

Crum, Ben. (2007) Connecting National and Supranational Democracy: Lessons from the Making of the EU Constitutional Treaty. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    The 2001 Declaration of Laeken inaugurated the most ambitious and open EU Treaty revision process so far. Most notably, the Laeken Declaration established a European Convention to prepare the new Treaty, which included political representatives from both the European and national level. Two negative referendum outcomes in Spring 2005 have however brought the Laeken process to a standstill. How can this Treaty revision process that was designed towards greater popular engagement have failed were the preceding ones (which were much more closed) succeeded? To answer this question, this paper focuses on the contrast between the successful establishment of a body (the Convention) for democratic deliberation at the supranational level and the problems of embedding the Constitutional Treaty debate within the national political spheres of the EU member states. I argue that while the European Convention may have succeeded in terms of deliberation, it failed in terms of public engagement. In a broader perspective, the Convention experience suggests that democratised European decision-making procedures cannot substitute for domestic democratic institutions. As European institutions lack the ability to prompt processes of democratic opinion formation in the member states, they can only operate successfully if they are complemented by a reinforced engagement of domestic institutions. Hence, a well-functioning multilevel democracy requires systematic linkages between supranational and national institutions, which remain underdeveloped in the EU so far.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > Constitution for Europe
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > European Convention
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2008
    Page Range: p. 16
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:50

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