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Democratic inclusion and multiple identities in the European Union

Eurostudia, vol.1, no. 1, June 2005
Deutsch | français
Andreas Niederberger, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M.
This article focuses on the procedures of political decision making within the European Union from the perspective of “deliberative democracy”. In a first step the very idea and the main aspects of this conception of democracy are sketched before the background of the traditional concept of representative democracy. In a second step the author discusses several of the problems emerging with the transition from the nation state-level to the inter-state dimension of democracy in general and to the level of European, “communitarian” institutions in particular. In this respect a crucial problem consists in the necessity to meet a double challenge: to make sure on the one hand that the various differences in terms of cultural values and political interests can sufficiently influence decision making, but that on the other hand the procedures of decision making are sufficiently rational in terms of their capacity to criticize the various reasons put forward in defending values and interests. It is argued that one key-element of a solution for this problem consists in conceiving identities not as an entry-condition of deliberation (which can be “defended” or “lost”) but rather as their result.