People and Parliament in the European Union: Participation, Democracy, and Legitimacy

Hardcover | June 1, 1998

byJean Blondel, Richard Sinnott, Palle Svensson

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The power of the European Parliament has been steadily and visibly increasing in recent years. This arises from EU treaty changes and from the fact that more and more decisions are being made at the European level. At the same time, however, the already low rate of turnout in Europeanelections has actually been declining. This powerful new study examines a seemingly paradoxical situation which has raised deep concern about the democratic deficit in the European Union. The authors analyse the concepts of participation, democracy, and legitimacy and their applicability at theEuropean level and develop a typology of voter participation and abstention in the European context. Combining extensive new data from specially commissioned surveys in all 1994 member states with a searching review of the existing evidence, they provide a comprehensive account of the legitimacy ofthe European Union and examine the images of the European Parliament, citizens experiences of the 1994 campaign and their perceptions of the parties and the candidates. In an analysis that challenges existing interpretations, the institutional, demographic, and attitudinal sources of participationand abstention are fully explored. The study concludes by considering how participation and democratic representation might be enhanced, acknowledging forthrightly the obstacles and inherent limits that such efforts are likely to face.

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The power of the European Parliament has been steadily and visibly increasing in recent years. This arises from EU treaty changes and from the fact that more and more decisions are being made at the European level. At the same time, however, the already low rate of turnout in Europeanelections has actually been declining. This powerf...

Richard Sinnott: Educated at University College Dublin and Georgetown University, Richard Sinnott worked as a research fellow at the ESRI (The Economic and Social Research Institute), Dublin before joining the Department of Politics in UCD. Since 1989 he has been Director of CEEPA (Centre for European Economic and Public Affairs), a...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:June 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198293089

ISBN - 13:9780198293088

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Table of Contents

1. Electoral Participation, Democracy, and Legitimacy in the European Union2. The Extent and Nature of the Problem of Abstention in European Parliament Elections3. Legitimacy and Participation4. Interest, Knowledge, and Participation5. The European Parliament: Power, Responsiveness, Image, and Participation6. Parties, Candidates, and Campaigns7. Turnout in Context: Variations among the Member States8. Sources of Turnout and Abstention in the European Parliament9. Conclusion: Participation, Democracy, and Legitimacy in the European Union