The Illusion of Accountability in the European Union

1st Edition

Sverker Gustavsson, Christer Karlsson, Thomas Persson

Published February 28, 2011
Reference - 208 Pages
ISBN 9780415502771 - CAT# Y133356
Series: Routledge Advances in European Politics

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This book examines accountability in the EU from different perspectives and considers whether EU citizens have real opportunities for holding decision-makers accountable. This book critically analyses five arguments which claim there are sufficient means for holding decision-makers to account in the Union. The authors examine:

  • The argument that we should rethink the meaning of accountability in the EU context
  • The claim that there is no accountability deficit in the EU because member states have the power to retrieve all delegated competencies
  • The assertion that EU citizens have effective mechanisms for holding those responsible for legislative decision-making to account
  • The contention that the arrangements that obtain at present for holding the executive power in the EU to account are acceptable
  • The belief that the involvement of organised civil society can work as an alternative to traditional forms of accountability

The main conclusion is that the current institutional set-up and practice of decision-making in the EU is one that merely creates an illusion of accountability.

Using a strict framework focusing on the difference between formal mechanisms and actual opportunities for accountability, this highly coherent volume will be of interest to students and scholars of European politics, especially those interested in the democratic foundations of the European political system.


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