Representative Democracy in the EU: Recovering Legitimacy

12. May, 2019


Elizabete Vizgunova
Kārlis Bukovskis

Representative democracy is beset by a crisis of legitimacy across the world, but in Europe this crisis is compounded by the inadequacy of national governments to address citizens’ frustrations and to achieve transnational unity on common issues. How representative are national parliaments in their decision-making on EU matters?

This volume investigates the relationship between the democratic institutions of the member states and those of the EU. With a focus on polity rather than policy, it looks at voting and decision-shaping mechanisms in selected member states, in particular the ‘Europeanisation’ of representative democracy at national level. It also assesses the state of parliamentary democracy at the EU level. Expert analysts share their insights into the changing nature of our political eco-systems and the (dis)connections within and between them.

Representative Democracy in the EU: Recovering Legitimacypdf is part of the ‘Towards a Citizens’ Union’ project co-funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme. It is the product of collaboration with 20 renowned think tanks from the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN). This volume follows the first in the series, Direct Democracy in the EU: The Myth of a Citizens’ Union. A third and final publication will offer ideas for how democratic institutions and processes can meet the challenges facing Europe today.

Publication Political ideologies and the EU in Latvia’s representative democracypdf, written by researchers of the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS – Iveta Kažoka & Rasmuss Filips Geks – and Latvian Institute of International Affairs – Elizabete Vozgunova & Kārlis Bukovskis – focuses on the fact that Latvia’s representative democracy is not set up along the traditional basis of left and right ideologies.

In the article it is further explained how the ethnic division between ‘Latvian’ and ‘Russian’ parties still plays a major role in determining the agenda of the Saeima (parliament). All the major political parties in Latvia support the European Union, although they sometimes object to specific policies proposed by EU institutions, especially relating to EU budgetary and migration policies. Even though issues related to the EU were almost irrelevant in domestic politics for several years, Latvia’s political parties have increasingly aligned themselves with European political groups. However, the process of integrating into European political families has not yet resulted in clearer ideological affiliations.

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