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Photo: “Election posters for EU Parliament election in Luxembourg, various“, by Bdx, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Fasone, Cristina, Daniele Gallo, and Jan Wouters. “Re-connecting Authority and Democratic Legitimacy in the EU: Introductory remarks.” (2020): 175-189.


One of the main problems the Union has to cope with is the difficulty in properly articulating the relationship between authority and democratic legitimacy, in particular the disconnection between the allocation of powers to the EU and to its Member States and the forms of democratic control over their exercise in the Union. Indeed, it seems that the more EU authority expands, the more the democratic legitimacy of the Union is in trouble. In the EU the source of authority is dislocated out of the traditional forms of democratic accountability, which have been shaped domestically by centuries of constitutional history. In addition to this, the “punctiform” nature of many EU decision-making processes, starting at one level of government – regional, national or supranational – and ending up being concluded at a different level, favours this feeling of disorientation amongst European citizens. The attitude of several national governments, which tend to blame the EU for their own failures, exacerbates this problem and leads to the perception of EU institutions as not only distant, but also detached from the needs of ordinary citizens.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.