15 Nov 2018

Direct Democracy in the EU

The Myth of a Citizens’ Union

Steven Blockmans / Sophia Russack

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The European Union has a democracy problem. The polycrisis that has plagued the EU for years has led to a cacophony of voices calling for fundamental change to the integration project. Yet despite the shock of the Brexit referendum and the electoral upsets caused by nativist parties across the continent, few of the plans for EU reform include concrete proposals to address the perennial democratic deficit.

This book looks at how the relationship between citizens, the state and EU institutions has changed in a multi-layered Union. As such, it focuses more on polity than on populism, and does not engage deeply with policy or output legitimacy. Building on the notion of increasing social, economic and political interdependence across borders, this book asks whether a sense of solidarity and European identity can be rescued from the bottom up by empowering citizens to ‘take back control’ of their Union, and offers insightful conclusions by Richard Youngs.

Each chapter starts with a short summary, and reader-friendly highlghts of the key messages appear throughout the book.

Direct Democracy in the EU: The Myth of a Citizens’ Union is part of the ‘Towards a Citizens’ Union project and is the product of collaboration with 20 renowned think tanks from the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN). It is the first of three publications that will also cover the state of representative democracy in the EU and the accountability of democratic institutions.

Edited by Steven Blockmans, Senior Researcher and Head of the Europe in the World and Institutions units, CEPS, and Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam. Sophia Russack is Researcher at CEPS Institutions unit.

Co-published with Rowman and Littlefield International (RLI), this book can be purchased, either in paperback or as an e-Book from the RLI website.

No. of pages: 453