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Exploring the EU’s Legitimacy Crisis

The Dark Heart of Europe Christian Schweiger, Visiting Professor, Chair for Comparative European Governance Systems, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany
Exploring the EU’s Legitimacy Crisis provides a profound analysis of the causes and the consequences of the EU's growing legitimacy problem. The prior permissive consensus in the EU has been markedly declining under persistent crisis conditions. Since the onset of the eurozone crisis the EU's governance has been narrowly driven by the semi-hegemonial leadership of Germany – manifesting itself in functionalist and technocratic policy reforms concentrated on strengthening economic governance coordination. Other crucial policy areas have been neglected as member states show decreasing solidarity and a growing emphasis on national interests in response to mounting external challenges. This book examines these developments in detail by scrutinising the EU's ability to maintain legitimacy through political leadership, democratic accountability and governance efficiency.
Extent: 296 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78471 784 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Politics and Public Policy
  • European Politics and Policy
  • International Politics
  • Regulation and Governance
Exploring the EU’s Legitimacy Crisis provides a profound analysis of the causes and the consequences of the EU’s growing legitimacy problem. Since the onset of the eurozone crisis the EU’s governance has been narrowly driven by the semi-hegemonial leadership of Germany – manifesting itself in functionalist and technocratic policy reforms concentrated on strengthening economic governance coordination. Other crucial policy areas have been neglected as member states show decreasing solidarity and a growing emphasis on national interests in response to mounting external challenges. This book examines these developments in detail by scrutinising the EU’s ability to maintain legitimacy through political leadership, democratic accountability and governance efficiency.

This state-of-the-art exploration of the EU’s internal and external challenges, including the eurozone and the migration crisis, provides critical analysis of the EU’s leadership in the context of diverging national interests. The author outlines the essential background to understanding the rise in euroscepticism in the EU and provides an insightful analysis of the 2014 European Parliament election Spitzenkandidaten system. A comprehensive critical analysis of the latest developments in the EU’s major policy areas in terms of their problem-solving capacity and democratic legitimacy is also included.

This timely exploration of the reality of the EU’s governance in light of persistent crises will appeal to students, academics and practitioners interested in the development of the EU, its member states and European politics more generally.
‘This outstanding timely study critically assesses how the EU could move towards a perfect storm of multiple legitimacy crises. Through a combination of innovative theoretical thinking and original empirical research Christian Schweiger excels in analysing the gap between input (politics) and output legitimacy (policy). He convincingly argues that the method of technocratic legitimacy has reached its limits and the mechanisms enhancing input legitimacy are still inadequate. Schweiger argues that the nationally oriented strategies of member states, particularly the Franco-German partnership, which create multiple joint decision-making traps that are increasingly blocking further development of the EU are part of the problem. Schweiger provides an indispensable well-researched study that will guide scholars and practitioners to find a new way to re-invigorate one of the most extraordinary and original peace projects of our times.’
– José M. Magone, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany

‘The current multifaceted and mutating EU crisis cannot be traced to the euro area alone, however important that is. In this impressive and path-breaking study by Christian Schweiger the roots of the present crisis are revealed through a combination of political science and economics scholarship. The central weakness is weak legitimacy. There is a problem with input legitimacy (direct citizen participation) but more importantly the EU’s reliance on output legitimacy is undermined, as in the case of national government by a delivery deficit which weakens the trust of citizens. In a masterpiece of clear analysis Schweiger fleshes out these ideas in a comprehensive account of the development of the EU and concludes with suggestions for addressing the difficulties to which they have given rise. This is a “must-read” for all EU scholars and their students.’
– William E. Paterson OBE FAcSS, Aston University, UK

‘After the UK’s shock Brexit vote of 23 June 2016 the issue of the EU’s legitimacy crisis is more obvious than ever. Having explained in detail the manifold problems of the European Union in seven very informative chapters, Christian Schweiger asks for “rebuilding public trust in the European project” in his final summary. Maybe the UK’s decision – by a slim majority for such a far-reaching decision – to exit can be the decisive trigger to enable the EU to “rebuild the foundations of the European project” that the author asks for in his book which was finished prior to the referendum. Schweiger correctly argues that it “will take resolve in combination with honesty and visionary leadership to turn things around”. He clarifies, however, that this is possible and definitely worthwhile. Among the wealth of literature on the legitimacy problem of the EU, this book deserves to be seen as a major contribution to the contemporary debate. Schweiger’s monograph provides an excellent analysis and an engaging must-read for politics academics and students in the EU-28/27 and the Anglo-Saxon countries. It will undoubtedly stimulate further research and debate on the controversial issues of the EU’s legitimacy.’
– Lothar Funk, Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, Germany

‘Schweiger guides the reader through a forensic analysis of when the EU’s legitimacy crisis began, the various reasons as to why it has occurred, including decisions that have been taken since the advent of the crisis, and importantly, what can be done about. . . Schweiger is spot-on in how he analyses the issues. The book provides the reader with much excellent empirical analysis and so much to think about... While the European integration project keeps rumbling on, I want Schweiger to continue writing about it.’
– Global Policy
Contents:
1. Introduction: The Process of Institutionalised European Integration and the Permissive Consensus of the First Four Decades 2. After Maastricht: How the EU Started Losing its Citizens 3. Who Calls the Shots? the EU's Unstable Leadership Constellation Between Bipolarity, Variable Geometry and Semi-Hegemony 4. Towards a Core-Periphery Divide: the Financial Crisis and the New Wave of Technocratic Spill-Over 5. Freedom Without a Purpose? – The Flaws of the Single European Market 6. The 2014 European Parliament Elections and the Limited Success of the Spitzenkandidaten System 7. Managing Instability and Insecurity in the Neighbourhood: the EU's Disjointed External Relations 8. Rebuilding Public Trust in the European Project: Concluding Recommendations Index