The four vectors of legitimacy include democratic elections, leaders with expertise to deliver efficiency and make sound decisions, the ideological connection between leaders and followers, and social identification (Van Esch 225). There are several pro-legitimate and anti-legitimate aspects of the EU. The EU appears to have a democratic structure, with members of the European Parliament from all the 28 countries. However, the members of the European Commission are not elected. The House of Commons is unrepresentative, and the House of Lords is unelected, which makes the EU undemocratic. The EU is considered to be elitist, unconnected to ordinary citizens, and technocratic. Thus, it lacks democratic legitimacy. Additionally, leaders such as Angela Merkel have an ideological connection with their followers to some extent. However, the leaders’ positions on different issues such as the Euro crisis, display lack of leadership legitimacy. Moreover, Merkel does not represent the values of all her followers, such as Christian Democrats (Van Esch 228). Besides, EU leaders such as Angela Merkel lack expertise in economic and monetary affairs (Van Esch 228). However, she is highly experienced in European politics. The EU also lacks legitimacy regarding social identification. For instance, Merkel is associated with a Swabian housewife. Many Europeans associate her with German hegemony (Van Esch 230).
The EU enforces its rules. Thus, there is the lack of accountability. The EU faces systemic threats to the rule of law. For example, in Poland, the Constitutional Tribunal is barred from ensuring an efficient constitutional review. As a result, the Constitutional Tribunal’s functioning, integrity, and stability are adversely affected, and this makes it difficult to safeguard the Poland’s rule of law.
The EU should not impose its values on other countries (Lucarelli and Fioramonti 172). Judicial activism, which entails basing judicial rulings on political and personal considerations instead of the existing law, is common in the EU. In particular cases, the EU law takes primacy over the laws of member states.
Weiler states that EU’s democratic legitimacy should be perceived as input and outcome legitimacy. The distinction between the two implies that although the EU cannot be considered as a full democracy as a state, some of its results in areas such as the economic sphere compensate for this deficit (Napel 127).
From the analysis, the EU mainly lacks legitimacy.
- Lucarelli, Sonia, and Lorenzo Fioramonti, eds. External perceptions of the European Union as a Global Actor. Routledge, 2009.
- Napel, Hans-Martien ten. “Joseph HH Weiler’s Approach to the Democratic Legitimacy of the European Union: Is There a Message for Neo-Calvinists?.” Journal of Markets and Morality 17.1 (2014).
- Van Esch, F. A. W. J. “The Paradoxes of Legitimate EU Leadership. An Analysis of the Multi-Level Leadership of Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras during the Euro Crisis.” Journal of European Integration 39.2 (2017): 223-237.