European Governance and Democracy: Power and Protest in the EU
New York : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Considering the future of European integration, this clear and compelling study explores the interplay between collective action and democracy in the European Union and its member states. Richard Balme and Didier Chabanet analyze the influence of supranational governance on democratization through a wealth of case studies on a broad range of civil society interests, including regional policy, unemployment and poverty, women's rights, migration policy, and environmental protection. The authors trace the evolving relationship between citizens and European institutions over the past decades, especially as public support for deepening and widening integration has waned. This trend culminated in a deep institutional crisis precipitated by the rejection of the draft constitutional treaty in France and the Netherlands in 2005. At least two truisms were proven wrong during this tumultuous period: that European citizens have little interest in European integration and that citizens have little influence on EU politics. However, this power shift has left citizens with a deep distrust of integration and EU institutions with limited capacities to cope with issues the public considers priorities-primarily unemployment and social inequalities.