The paradoxical effects of institutional change for the legitimacy of European governance: the case of EU Social Policy
.This article discusses the tensions between two aspects of institutional change in the EU: the adaptation of institutional arrangements with the prospect of the legitimization of Community governance within a policy-making arena on the one hand, and the external evaluation of these institutional developments from the viewpoint of democratic theory on the other. Taking up the example of EU Social Policy, the argument proposed is twofold: First, a reconstruction of the institutional evolution in this field shows that strong tendencies towards the adaptation of Community governance to its contested legitimacy base – with regard to power relations, the behaviour of actors, the definition of policy ideas and the mechanisms of institutional change itself – are present. Second, evaluating these changes from the perspective of democratic theory reveals legitimacy deficits that are not just related to the imbalance of the input- and output-dimensions of legitimacy, but also to the tension between different normative standards of legitimate governance.
social policy; governance; legitimacy; democracy; open coordination; political science
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