Saturday, July 20, 2019


THE "DISCURSIVE DEFICIT" Moravcsik and the European Union â€Å"Sidentrop’s most fundamental error—one he shares with many in the European debate—is his assumption that the EU is a nation-state in the making,† Andrew Moravcsik writes in his â€Å"Despotism In Brussels?† However, Moravcsik makes the same error himself, if a bit more circuitously. In his articles â€Å"Despotism In Brussels?†, â€Å"Federalism in the European Union: Rhetoric and Reality,† and â€Å"In Defense of the ‘Democratic Deficit’: Reassessing Legitimacy in the European Union,† Moravcsik denies the existence of a â€Å"democratic deficit† within the European Union. His claim itself, however, is not legitimate: he attempts to legitimize to the European Union by granting it authority on the basis of state-based democratic standards while simultaneously denying that the EU is, in fact, a democratic entity similar to the modern state. â€Å"The European Union lacks every characteristic that grants a modern European state†¦its authority,† Moravcsik states. Yet he asserts that â€Å"constitutional checks and balances, indirect democratic control via national governments, and the increasing powers of the European Parliament are sufficient to assure that the EU policymaking is, in nearly all cases, clean, transparent, effective, and politically responsive to demands of European citizens.† This assertion relies heavily on what is the most salient characteristic of authority in the â€Å"modern European state†Ã¢â‚¬â€the democratic system—to make any sense at all, and thus the contradiction in Moravcsik’s argument emerges. In order to examine the intricacies of this contradiction, we shall now analyze the three endemically democratic concepts that Moravcsik claims legitimize EU authority, his assertion that each is not part of a state structure as used by the EU, and his contradictory validation of these concepts by state-employed democratic principles. Constitutional checks and balances. Moravcsik claims that the presence and use of the Treaty of Rome as a â€Å"stable, overarching structure of political authority in Europe† should dispel Euroskeptics’ fears about the development of a European â€Å"superstate.† He proceeds to assert that while a true Constitution does not (as yet) exist, a relatively firm â€Å"de facto constitution for Europe† does indeed exist. That â€Å"constitution,† he claims, is characterized by â€Å"a set of substantive fiscal, administrative, legal, and procedural constraints on EU policymaking† that serve to limit the EU in its policymaking power.

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