A Note on Political Contestability and the Future of the European Union

Authors

  • Rolf Weder,

    Corresponding author
    • Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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  • Herbert G. Grubel

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, Canada
    • Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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    • We thank an editor of this journal, anonymous referees, Beat Spirig and the participants of the Conference “Beyond the Lisbon Treaty: Ensuring the long-term viability and vitality of the European Union” in July 2008 in Siena for their helpful comments preliminary to this final version of the paper.

Summary

In this paper, we argue that, first, the contestable-markets hypothesis increases our understanding of why and how public referenda and initiatives are beneficial for the political decision-making process and, second, that these direct-democratic instruments could solve some of the current and pending institutional problems of the European Union (EU) and reshape its process of political integration. The Lisbon Treaty includes some attempts in this direction which, however, are half-hearted and thus hardly increase the democratic control of the EU by its member states and their citizens.

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