Demokratisk legitimitet i Den Europæiske Union

Sandra Louise Andersen, Steffen Hesselbjerg Rasmussen, Robert Vincent Madsen & Frederick Tang Jørgensen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic partnership that has been criticized for lacking legitimacy and suffering from a ‘democratic deficit’ since the 1980s. This project aims to investigate whether the EU, as a political system, possesses democratic legitimacy or not, and which mechanisms may be behind it. This project uses science, quantitative and qualitative empirical data as well as theory. We have formulated questions that act as guidelines to answer our issue, by the use of retroductive reasoning. We apply critical realism, to expand our horizon of understanding in our quest for new knowledge. We start by outlining the scientific discussion about the democratic deficit in the EU from several central social scientists. The purpose of outlining the discussion is to illustrate the criticism of the EU's functioning in relation to democracy and legitimacy. Next, we analyze what measures the European Union has implemented, over recent years, to become more democratic. Today, the Union regulates areas that impact citizens of the Union directly. Because of this we analyze statistics on European citizens relationship with the European Union pre and post Treaty of Lisbon. It is observed that the voter turnout for the European Parliament elections and public confidence in the EU has decayed in conjunction with the Union having become increasingly democratic. Subsequently, we will analyze the statistical and empirical data using input, output and throughput legitimacy theory, to explore whether the EU possess democratic legitimacy. Citizens are the basis of the Union's democratic legitimacy and based on our statistical analysis and theoretical framework, we conclude that the Union in several areas can not be considered democratic legitimate. The statistics used only reflects tendencies within society and not the mechanisms behind. Finally, we use democratic theory in the form of deliberative democracy, by Jürgen Habermas, as well as a sociological perspective on citizenship, to go behind the tendencies and examine the mechanisms behind, as a possible cause for the EU's weak democratic legitimacy. Our conclusion is contingent upon the fact, that achieving truth within the realm of critical realism, relies on an ever changing reality. This means, that we are not able to reach a definitive outcome, but merely a snapshot of reality.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2014


  • Den Europæiske Union
  • Føllesdal
  • Moravcsik
  • legitmitet
  • medborgerskab
  • demokrati
  • EU
  • output
  • input
  • deliberativt demokrati
  • Lissabontraktaten
  • Hix
  • demokratiske underskud
  • throughput
  • Majone
  • Borgerinitiativet