Rowman and Littlefield International
Functional Representation and Democracy in the EU

Functional Representation and Democracy in the EU

The European Commission and Social NGOs

By Corinna Wolff

Publication Date: Nov 2013

Pages 330

ECPR Press

Paperback 9781907301650
£30.00 €41.00 $46.00

Involving civil society – in particular affected stakeholders – is often seen as a solution to democratic deficits. High expectations ride on the promise of participation in new modes of governance at the EU, such as the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). But its results have been modest, and it is unclear who should participate where, and how. Corinna Wolff offers a consistent framework to assess participation from the perspective of democratic legitimacy, conceptualising it as functional representation. She reviews recent theories of representation, develops them into a tool to deal with complex governance settings, then applies this framework to functional representation at the European Commission in EU social policy. The results indicate that far from being a panacea, functional representation raises fundamental questions about the possibilities for democratic European governance.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Acknowledgements ix

Chapter One: Introduction 1

Chapter Two: What Does it Mean to Represent? 23

Chapter Three: Descriptive Representation 45

Chapter Four: Functional Representation and Democracy 55

Chapter Five: The Use of Functional Representation in EU Social Policy 77

Chapter Six: What Makes One a Stakeholder of the Commission? 109

Chapter Seven: The Role of NGOs in the Social OMC 133

Chapter Eight: The Key European Networks 157

Chapter Nine: The Descriptive Representation of the Poor 189

Chapter Ten: The Commission’s Concept of Representation: ‘Closeness’

on All Levels 215

Chapter Eleven: The Commission’s Concept of Democracy:

‘Working Together’ 235

Chapter Twelve: Conclusions 265

Appendix: Primary Sources 287

Bibliography 289

Index 311

Corinna Wolff holds a PhD from the University of Tampere, Finland. With Professor Osmo Apunen she has co-written a book about Finnish foreign and defence policy 1938–1948.

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