For a long time the European Union (EU) has been considered a transnational project securing peace and security. In the light of the recent developments of the deep international financial crisis, we argue that the EU suffers from a substantial legitimacy crisis threatening its existence. This crisis combines symptoms of a structural democratic deficit on the one hand and a general lack of solving common problems effectively on the other. The two strengthen and reinforce each other and lead to eroding support and acceptance for the European project and pose questions about opportunities and limits to transnational democracy. Based on a literature review, we discuss different streams of the discourse on institutional reforms of the European Union and develop an argument in favour of a more citizen-oriented Union. We follow arguments for institutional reforms but suggest more specifically to strengthen and redesign specific elements of participatory democracy, which are anchored in the constitutional framework of the Union. Thus, we discuss the benefits and potential application of citizen dialogues and deliberation in the European context. Finally, we briefly exemplify our institutional proposal in applying it to the policy field of the common European energy policy.
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Kamlage, J.-H., & Nanz, P. (2017). Crisis and Participation in the European Union: Energy Policy as a Test Bed for a New Politics of Citizen Participation. Global Society, 31, 65-82. doi:10.1080/13600826.2016.1235553.
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