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A theoretical inquiry: Is European administration consensus-based?

D.C. Iancu and D.M. Ungureanu

No 290, Apas Papers from Academic Public Administration Studies Archive - APAS

Abstract: European Union has been consistently described as a democratic polity, although arguments on its failure have been thoroughly analyzed (Featherstone, 1994; Follesdal & Hix, 2006). A. Lijphart's book on patterns of democracy (1999), for instance, supports the idea that EU is built upon consensual democratic principles. In his view, EU's policy-making takes place in coalition cabinets, the executive is rather well balanced with the legislative and the Euro MPs, directly elected on proportionality basis cluster in different political groups, just as they do in a regular national multiparty system. Additionally, interest groups are represented in a corporatist manner, governance is multilayered, and the Court of Justice is a strong control factor for the European law making. All these characteristics point to the Lijphart's assumption that EU is in fact, consensus-based in its organization. If so, does the European administration fit to a similar consensus-based framing? What patterns of organization and functioning should the European administration follow in order to become consistent to consensualism? These two questions are to be addressed in this article. The aim set forward here is to: (1) develop a theoretical model for the consensus-based administration, (2) analyze the nature of the European administration, and (3) apply the consensus model to the European administration. The expected result is a comprehensive translation of the legal definition of the European administration to consensualism, one able to offer a reliable basis for further analyzing EU and its administrative developments. In fact, the article attempts to open a discussion on the true values of the so-called European Administrative Space, one that borrows quite a lot of features of the globally spread democratic administrations.

Keywords: European administration; consensus democracy; administrative principle (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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