Law and democracy

What is the impact of segmentation on democratic and constitutional processes? What are the implications for European citizens?

Through the crisis, the very viability of the EU as a political arrangement has come under scrutiny. The crisis brings up the prospect that states may come to occupy permanently different roles and statuses and that this is a recognized and defining feature of the EU. If so, we may talk of a uniquely structured segmented political order. So has the assumption that integration goes hand-in-hand with democratization. Hence we need to reconsider the core assumption that has long underpinned the integration project, the neo-functionalist assumption of an 'ever-closer union'.

‘Law and democracy’ is one of four EuroDiv sub-projects (Integration and division: Towards a segmented Europe?). It focuses on the crisis, segmentation, and democratic and constitutional implications. The assumption is that greater segmentation is associated with weakened democracy and de-constitutionalisation, whereas democratic constitutionalism is a countervailing force. This is examined through the following studies:

Segmentation and democracy

How has the crisis affected parliaments at the EU and national levels? The assumption is that increased segmentation weakens democracy, which implies that executives and independent expert bodies are strengthened at the expense of parliaments. Different decision-making processes are examined to investigate forms of access and how influential executives and experts are versus representative bodies at different stages. How different Norway is in this regard will also be studied.

Citizens’ resilience and mobilisation

What are the effects of increased mobility and mobilisation on accelerated cultural change and fragmentation? The crisis challenges the core founding myth that integration leads to stability and growth, and promises ‘equal living conditions’ across the Union. Broader patterns of social strife and fragmentation are investigated in order to discern possible segmenting trends. At the same time, constitutionalisation of rights can contribute to weakening segmentation, and it is investigated how the Europe of rights and citizenship confront a Europe of increasing inequalities.

Towards a segmented Europe?

This sub-project will also pay attention to some of EuroDiv’s overall questions: Is the crisis ushering in a broader pattern of segmentation? If so, what are the democratic implications? To what extent can one detect counter-forces? How might this be addressed in democratic-constitutional terms?

Published Jan. 28, 2015 2:26 PM - Last modified Sep. 29, 2016 10:10 AM