EU regional policy and new modes of governance : implications to the EU's democratic legitimacy

Noikokyris, Athanasios (2015) EU regional policy and new modes of governance : implications to the EU's democratic legitimacy. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Several indicators highlight that the EU suffers from a democratic legitimacy deficit that threatens not only the effectiveness of its policies, but also its integration project. This deficit has become very prominent since the 1990s and derives from the EU's multilevel governance political system. This political system combines elements both of a nation state and an international organisation, and, thus, transforms traditional politics and government and redefines the concepts of democracy and legitimacy both at European and national levels. This thesis investigates the EU's democratic legitimacy issue and also demonstrates how New Modes of Governance (NMG) can contribute towards the democratic legitimation of the EU's political system. NMG, due to their non-hierarchical, more inclusive and co-operative governance approaches, can theoretically enhance participation and improve the quality of policies and policy-making. Against this background, this thesis examines the employment of NMG in the EU's regional policy and especially in four case studies (Austria, Denmark, Italy and Poland). Through this comparative investigation, it offers an assessment of NMG influence on the EU's democratic legitimacy. Nevertheless, NMG have certain limitations too which constrain their employment on the EU's regional policy and limit their contribution to the EU's democratic legitimation of the EU, but they have to be better connected with the processess of representative democracy. They also depend on the progress of the EU's political integration. However, they constitute an innovative method of governance and further inquiry is necessary.

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