1st Edition

The Illusion of Accountability in the European Union

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines accountability in the EU from different perspectives and considers whether EU citizens have real opportunities for holding decision-makers accountable. This book critically analyses five arguments which claim there are sufficient means for holding decision-makers to account in the Union. The authors examine:

    • The argument that we should rethink the meaning of accountability in the EU context
    • The claim that there is no accountability deficit in the EU because member states have the power to retrieve all delegated competencies
    • The assertion that EU citizens have effective mechanisms for holding those responsible for legislative decision-making to account
    • The contention that the arrangements that obtain at present for holding the executive power in the EU to account are acceptable
    • The belief that the involvement of organised civil society can work as an alternative to traditional forms of accountability

    The main conclusion is that the current institutional set-up and practice of decision-making in the EU is one that merely creates an illusion of accountability.

    Using a strict framework focusing on the difference between formal mechanisms and actual opportunities for accountability, this highly coherent volume will be of interest to students and scholars of European politics, especially those interested in the democratic foundations of the European political system.

    1: Examining the illusion of accountability - Sverker Gustavsson, Christer Karlsson and Thomas Persson  2: Accountability in world politics - Robert O. Keohane  3: Accountability and democracy - Heidrun Abromeit  4: Putting limits on accountability avoidance - Sverker Gustavsson  5: Irretrievable powers and democratic accountability - Hans Agné  6: EU treaty reform and accountability - Christer Karlsson  7: Delegation to the permanent representation and mechanisms of accountability - Thomas Larue  8: European intelligence cooperation and accountability - Thorsten Wetzling  9: Executive power and accountability in the European Union - Jonas Tallberg  10: The European Central Bank – independent and accountable? - Daniel Naurin  11: Civil society participation and accountability - Thomas Persson  12: Improving accountability in the European Union – the potential role of NGOs - Louisa Parks  13: Taking accountability seriously - Sverker Gustavsson, Christer Karlsson and Thomas Persson  


    Sverker Gustavsson is Jean Monnet Professor of European political integration at the Department of Government, Uppsala University, Sweden. His main research interests are European constitutional affairs, welfare state theory and research policy doctrines. Christer Karlsson is Associate Professor in the Department of Government, Uppsala University. His main research interests are democratic theory, European Union politics and international climate change negotiations. Thomas Persson is Researcher in the Department of Government, Uppsala University. His research interests include the involvement of civil society and interest groups in European Union politics, and the impact of European integration on national political systems.