6th Framework Programme (2002-2006)
 
 
 
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Project 04 Detail:
Legal Perspectives on Democracy and New Modes of Governance
 
Project completed

This project further developed democratic theory against the background of new modes of governance in a developed multilevel polity such as the EU. This further development was based on a critical scientific analysis of the literature on democratic theory and classical academic research-work like comparing constitutional traditions and / or institutional arrangements. On this basis, not only the modes of governance that were described and analysed by the other groups of the project were evaluated, but also selected scenarios and forms of governance were discussed.

'New modes of governance' are 'modes of problem solving that a) do not or only marginally rely on legislation and b) incorporate private actors in policy formulation'. Their importance derives from the fact that they are understood to be more efficient than traditional modes. But as a key condition for a multilevel polity such as the EU to be successful it is not only necessary that governance is efficient, but that it is democratic. Despite the debate on the 'democratic deficit' of the EU, most proposals for change put their emphasis on efficiency, understanding 'good governance' as deriving legitimacy from the capacity to solve problems but neglecting principles of democratic legitimacy to a considerable extent. It has been argued that such an output-oriented approach is the answer to the inability of representative democracy to provide for effective decision-making in a large multilevel polity. This is problematic from a normative point of view, because the output perspective is only one dimension of democracy which cannot replace the input-aspect reflecting the will of the people.

We therefore discussed what constitutes democratic and responsive governance. Equal and effective participation, institutionalised and public accountability, control of powers, were addressed against the background of new modes of governance and the principles of democratic legitimacy were worked out. These analyses distilled forms of governance, which promise to be successful in terms of democracy and efficiency against the background of further integration, enlargement and globalisation.

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Co-ordinated by the European University Institute