Portrait of the EU as a Rational Man: Collective reason and democratic deficit
Title: Portrait of the EU as a Rational Man: Collective reason and democratic deficit
Author: PASKALEV, Vesco
Series/Report no.: EUI LAW; 2012/19
In the present paper I take a critical view on the well-known discursive dilemma which captures the difference between governance by collective reasoning or governance responsive to majoritarian will. Then I suggest the republican concept of collective reason as a new perspective for study of EU and analyse the European Union as an example of a system which collectivises reason. From such perspective the notorious democratic deficit is explainable as the contradiction between collective reason and popular will. This problem brings home the conclusion that neither collectivising reason nor responsiveness to majority will alone can fully satisfy our normative demands. Thus, I claim that it is necessary to find a way out of the dilemma by a decision-making process that can bring about the two solutions in the same time. I suggest that in polities where people (as individuals) identify with the people (as a group) the gap is closed by a stepwise process of deliberation in the public sphere. Paneuropean deliberation is possible solution for Europe but in practice is obstructed by the competition from the spontaneous deliberation in the existing national public spheres. The latter are more robust, so they close the rationality gaps faster at national level; national public opinions tend to polarise and defend a ‘national’ interest against further deliberative challenges. I argue that the notion of competition is useful to explain why despite the development of the common democratic institutions at EU level and the emergence of weak European public, the deficit is bound to persist.
Subject: Discursive dilemma; civic republicanism; deliberative democracy; democratic deficit; depoliticization
Type of Access: openAccess