The EU has been in permanent crisis mode since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. The crisis has accentuated the EU’s declining legitimacy, which has increasingly manifested itself since the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty in the early 1990s. The failure of national governments to address the EU’s legitimacy problem is increasingly coming to haunt them, with the crisis undermining public trust in the problemsolving capacity of EU decision-makers. The public call for greater transparency and democratic accountability in the EU is getting louder, with the traditional permissive consensus giving way to what is now being described as a constraining dissensus in which citizens have started to scrutinize the EU’s institutions and policies. Under crisis conditions the EU has shown a distinct lack of collective solidarity and engagement, with national governments pursuing a predominantly reactive and functional governance approach.
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- The Legitimacy Challenge
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