Rowman and Littlefield International

Direct Democracy in the EU

The Myth of a Citizens' Union

Edited by Steven Blockmans, Sophia Russack

Publication date:

15 January 2019

Length of book:

468 pages

Publisher

Centre for European Policy Studies

ISBN-13: 9781786609977

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 volume 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.

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.