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The Responsive Union
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Book description

The EU faces a serious crisis of democratic legitimacy. Citizens believe that the EU is run by distant and non-responsive political elites. The EU's perceived lack of responsiveness to ordinary citizens poses a threat to its very survival. This timely book presents a comprehensive account of how EU governments signal responsiveness to the interests of their citizens over European policies. Schneider develops and tests a theoretical framework of the intergovernmental dimension of responsive governance in the European Union, using evidence amassed over nearly ten years of multi-method research. The findings show that European cooperation in the Council of the European Union takes place in the shadow of national elections. Governments signal responsiveness to their publics by taking positions that are in the interests of politically relevant voters at the national level, defending these positions throughout negotiations in the Council, and seeking appropriate policy outcomes at the EU level.

Reviews

‘Christina J. Schneider's book challenges two widely held ideas about how the EU works. Against the standard ‘democratic deficit' claim, the book shows how governments are increasingly responsive to their citizens when acting at the European level. And, against the Liberal Intergovermentalist theory of EU politics, the book challenges the assumption that European level issues are not salient enough to warrant significant domestic contestation. As such, the book is a major contribution to how the EU should be understand going forward.'

Simon Hix - Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, and Academic Director at the London School of Economics and Political Science

‘Christina J. Schneider bridges the explanatory gap between national elections and EU governance in a theoretically convincing and methodologically sophisticated way. Responsive Union is a milestone in the study of European politics.'

Frank Schimmelfennig - Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

'Schneider’s argument is impressive in terms of both the simplicity of her message and the sophistication of her data collection and analysis. Her book is sure to become a touchstone in debates about Europe’s ‘democratic deficit’.'

Erik Jones Source: Survival

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