The Inherently Undemocratic EU Democracy: Moving Beyond the ‘Democratic Deficit’ Debate

Fotis Vergis, Eva Nanopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues that the debate on the democratic ‘deficit’ or ‘default’ of the EU, both generally and specifically with reference to the Euro-crisis, is misplaced. What is usually perceived as a crisis of EU democracy is a manifestation of a more systemic displacement of democracy, as an inherent feature of the European project. This assumption is explored by examining the ideological and normative influences that informed the EU’s construction, as well as the forces that have continued to provide a vehicle for those influences to take political and legal form. These suggest that the undemocratic nature of the EU is necessary for the survival and perpetuation of the Union’s specific vision of a common (free) market, and thus of contemporary European capitalism, as well as for the affirmation and continuity of the EU bureaucracy and a symbiotic world of socio-economic interests. Consequently, the ‘democratic deficit’ of the EU cannot be palliated through institutional reform. Moreover, the EU will likely increasingly engage in a process of building European identity based on a singular vision, resulting in the gradual exclusion of those who do not share a commitment to the EU’s market telos and the marginalisation of substantive democratic critique.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Crisis behind the Euro-Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationThe Euro-Crisis as a Multidimensional Systemic Crisis of the EU
EditorsEva Nanopoulos, Fotis Vergis
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781108598859
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • democratic deficit
  • EU Law
  • democratic default
  • democracy
  • ideological polarisation, quality of democracy
  • EU
  • European Union
  • Eurocrisis

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Policy@Manchester


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