L’Unione europea può essere democratica?
It is well known that Ralf Dahrendorf raised concerns about the functioning of the European Union as a democratic institution. In his opinion, the most authentic and exclusive roots of the democratic experience can be found only within the nation-state. This historical, cultural and institutional aspect cannot be easily reproduced outside the context of the State. In Dahrendorf’s opinion it was essential that the EU Member States be democratic but to give a democratic character to Europe it was not necessary to transform the EU into a sort of Moloch State. This essay addresses the dilemma about European democracy highlighted by Dahrendorf, investigates why and how the EU has tried to build its democratic political system and the causes of the failure of this process. It examines the nature of democracy in a European continent with very wide borders and reflects on the various political crises that threaten its integration. In particular, it highlights the inadequacy of national democracies in managing transnational economies and policies and the possible effects of the populist conjuncture. The participation of citizens and political representation in its various forms of territorial expression remain the basis of a project of innovation in democratic practice that must not leave room for harmful alternatives.
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