Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsAn important question for the future of integrating Europe is the question of democracy and whether it can exist as something else than the 28 different democratic systems somehow coordinated on the European level. Of course, we know that democracy is about the rule of majority. It's about checks and balances. It's about electing parliaments, electing and controlling governments. But can it be something else than national democracies? We know that the European Union is an international organisation, legally speaking, of 28 sovereign states, and each of them is democratic. But there's something else worth considering and worth analysing.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsThis is the development of a different level of democracy, democracy among citizens of Europe, democracy understood as a network of contacts, relations, activities, and thinking, talking, discussing, solving common problems by citizens-- something that we may call a deliberative democracy on no national but European level, beyond and above national boundaries. It is, of course, a largely ongoing process already because of mobility, because of a great number of different ways European citizens get together, organise themselves, solve their common problems. But it is something that has a future obviously.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsYou have pressure groups, lobbies, civic institutions, European civil society-- citizens' organisations that communicate, organise themselves, and solve common European problems not through and via their national governments but directly deliberating, discussing, competing, working for the common future, for the common good on the European level. Clearly, the European Union is an ideal frame of reference for such activities. And if successful, this would lead to the development of a European civil society, European democracy, European demos, which would be more down-to-earth, closer to citizens, overcoming democratic deficit, and creating another level, a different level of the same system which we know as democracy.

Democracy in a post-national community

In this video, Professor Mach explains why the European Union is a good point of reference for redefining democracy in a post-national context.

An important question for the future of Europe, of integrating Europe, is the question whether democracy can exist as something else than the twenty-eight different democratic systems somehow coordinated on the European level. Of course, we know that democracy is about the rule of majority, about checks and balances, about electing parliaments and electing and controlling governments. But can it be something else than national democracy?

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European Culture and Politics

University of Groningen

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