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  • Democraticsystemsarenotwhattheliteralmeaningofthewordssuggests,butsomethingdifferentandvariableintimeandspace

    A good and provocative starting point when working on democracy is the well-known quotation by Sartori De-mocracy is the pompous name for something which does not exist. It is certainly not Sartoris intention to deny the existence and reality of democracy, a social and political construction to which he has dedicated his entire aca-demic life, but rather to invite us to go beyond the immediate perception.

    Democratic systems are not what the literal meaning of the words suggests, but something different and variable in time and space. This realistic approach has a long tradition and is an invitation to continuously reconsider and chal-lenge the ides reues on the matter.

    Since its inception, the EUI has tackled all the variegated dimensions of the demo-

    cratic issue. We cannot cite all the contri-butions made by the researchers, fellows and professors at the EUI, but mention must be made of the work of lawyers such as Cappelletti on the constitutional di-mension of democracy, the considerable and collective effort of political scientists under the direction of Hans Daalder and Rudolf Wildermann, the exploration of its social dimension through the work of Esping-Andersen and Colin Crouch, the comparative dimension of Philippe Schmitter and Jean Blondel, and more recently by Peter Mair and Stefano Barto-lini. The more theoretical questions have also been explored, and I am thinking here of the works by Maurice Cranston and later those by Sandro Pizzorno and Steven Lukes.

    This domain of research has been ex-tremely prolific and fecund and all

    Inside03 TheDemocraticDilemma06 ThePrima FacieofDemocracy09 DemocracyinEUExternalRelations13 Post-communism15 Decision-makingEfficiencyor

    LegislativeTransparency?17 PatternsofPoliticalParticipation19 GlobalPublicGoods21 DemocracyandEuroscepticism23 SeclusionandInclusioninEurope25 EULegitimacyafterEnlargement28 DemocracyandtheInternet30 DeliberativeOpinionPolling33 TheNatureofE-democracy35 PariahPartiesandPoliticalExclusion37 How(notto)DemocratizetheMedia39 MWPAcademicCareersObservatory

    SearchingandResearchingDemocracyEUIPresident|Yves Mny

    TheEuropeanUniversityInstitute-BadiaFiesolana-ViadeiRoccettini,9-I-50014SanDomenicodiFiesole(FI),Italywww.eui.eu-e-mail:barbara.ciomei@eui.eu-EUI Reviewalsoavailableat:www.eui.eu/PUB/EUIReview.shtml

    }}

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  • Winter 2007

    disciplines represented at the EUI have made their contribution to a field characterised both by continu-ity (the search for less imperfect political systems) and the profound changes which have affected both the concept and reality of democracy. Democracies have apparently triumphed over authoritarian or despotic regimes, but at the same time their defects and weak-nesses seem more acute when they are no longer faced with other regime types. If it is true that Democracy is the worst system with the exception of all the oth-ers, what happens when the others start to disappear from the map? The fact that there is no alternative is meagre consolation, as is shown by the recent dif-ficulties faced by democracies: cartelisation of political parties, electoral abstention, corruption, the crisis of the welfare state, shrinking of some civil liberties, etc. There are also even bigger questions: can democracy, which has developed within the nation state, survive the formidable transformation induced by globalisa-tionor at the regional level by the European integra-tion process? In other words, does democracy still have a meaning when the political framework (the nation) is largely disconnected from more pressing problems? Another tension that is certainly not new is the potential contradiction between the freedom that markets require and the equality which is at the root of the democratic principle. The relationship between

    this unhappy couple, to use Robert Dahls words, is a source of permanent conflict and transformation. The borderlines are in constant flux and change not only from one polity to another, but also according to ideo-logical, economic and social transformations.

    The longstanding EUI tradition mentioned above continues more actively than ever. The contributions offered by this special issue give only a partial over-view of the ongoing research, be it by young research-ers and fellows, or by senior professors.

    Let me refer in particular to a few recent developments: the creation of the European Union Democracy Ob-servatory (EUDO) under the direction of Alexander Trechsel (holder of the Swiss Chair on Federalism and Democracy), and the launch (with the support of DG Research at the European Commission) of the Euro-pean Election Study (EES), an ambitious enterprise of comparison of European elections, views of lites and public opinion, and election manifestos in the twenty-seven Member States of the European Union. And last but not least, the studies on the democratisation of (and in) the European Union in relation to the (failed) constitutionalisation of Europe to which the names of Christian Joerges, Jacques Ziller, Bruno de Witte and, last but not least, Giuliano Amato, are associated. n

    }

    Un anno fa, il nostro amico Elivio Bellotto ci ha lasciati allet di 80 anni. Per 12 anni, dal 1977 al 1989, stato lautista dei Presidenti Werner Maihofer e Emile Nol.

    Elivio aveva vissuto a lungo in Francia come tanti italiani che emigrarono alla ricerca di un lavoro in Europa, e aveva conservato unidentit fatta di un misto di cultura francese e italiana. Era a suo agio in entrambi i mondi cugini e me lo ricordo nel suo ruolo di mentore quando cercava di introdurre il Presidente Maihofer ai piaceri dellItalia: il vino, la cucina, la canzone napoletana, il tutto in francese che era la loro lingua franca.

    Venuto il momento della pensione, Elivio Bellotto si dedic a quei piaceri semplici come la cultura della vigna e la produzione del vino per s e per gli amici. Era lespressione della gioia di vivere e tutti coloro che lo hanno conosciuto ne conservano unimmagine di grande cordialit e simpatia.

    Nella ricorrenza della sua scomparsa gli amici dellIstituto avranno un pensiero per lui e per la sua famiglia.

    Y. Mny

    In ricordo di Elivio Bellotto

  • Successful democracies have to strike a difficult balance between the desire to make political lites responsive to citizens and the need to give these same lites enough autonomy to make decisions in the in-terests of their citizens. The American constitutional democracy on the one hand and European parlia-mentary democracies on the other, have historically addressed this dilemma in quite different ways, but in recent years the differences seem to be fading.

    Let me begin with a brief introduction to what I mean by the term, democracy. It is of course nave to think of democracy as a political system in which governments simply act according to the demands of their citizens. The reality is that citizens are generally ignorant of, and apathetic towards, much of what governments actually do. Moreover, no citizen can be expected to be informed on the range of deci-sions that their governments routinely takefrom the specific structure of international trade agree-ments, to the precise level of milk price supports, to the particular tax rate paid at different income levels. Finally, citizens preferences are often inconsistent and even incompatible. We want lower taxes and increases in public spending on all the good things that government does. We want less government regulation and we want the government to punish polluters, protect us against dangerous consumer products and encourage certain types of economic growth and development. We want fewer cars on the road and cheap petrol.

    Thus, given the complexity of governance on the one hand and the nature of public preferences on the other, the reality is that we elect or appoint lites to make these decisions for us. How we constrain these lites so that they are more likely to do what citizens want (and not what we dont want) is extremely im-portant and also quite varied.

    There are two basic and obvious mechanisms by which lites can be controlled. The first is through elections, where politicians have strong incentives to promise to do what citizens want in order to attract their votes. The second mechanism is through con-stitutional rules. Basic rules can be established as the foundation upon which political decisions are made. All real world democracies combine electoral incen-tives and constitutional constraints, but a basic dif-ference between American democracy and European parliamentary democracy is that the US system relies

    heavily on constitutional rules, while parliamentary democracy relies heavily on electoral incentives.

    Limited vs. purposive governmentAmerican democratic institutions were founded on a very different set of principles to those of the demo-cratic systems established in Europe many decades later. In the late 1700s the American revolutionary war unleashed a surge of egalitarian and democratic passions in society that brought the average man into the political sphere. Much to the consternation of most lites in the new America, the State governments across

    TheDemocraticDilemmaProfessorofPublicPolicy&PoliticalEconomy|Sven Steinmo

    }}

    Successfuldemocracieshavetostrikeadifficultbalancebetweenthedesiretomakepoliticallitesresponsivetocitizensandtheneed