Is the EU Democratic, and Does it Matter?

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EUSA Review, Vol: 17, Issue: 1, Page: 5

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Amitai Etzioni; Philippe C. Schmitter; Vivien Schmidt; Fritz W. Scharpf
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[Introduction by Vivien Schmidt, Forum Guest Editor]. This forum originally came in the form of a roundtable I organized at the American Political Science Association meetings in Philadelphia (August 2003) in an attempt to bring together a wide range of views on the democratic challenges facing the EU. Amitai Etzioni questioned the sustainability of the EU if it did not become a truly supranational political entity. Philippe Schmitter insisted that the democratic deficit problems were real, and most pressing at the national level. I followed up on this, arguing that were the EU to be appropriately understood as a regional state, it would be clear that democratic legitimacy is much less of a problem at the EU level than at the national. Fritz Scharpf concluded by showing that one's view of the democratic deficit depends upon whether one looks at the EU's institutional functioning or its problem-solving ability. The panel generated a lively debate, and the audience was not disappointed. I trust that "EUSA Review" readers will not be either.