Hartmut Behr


In a historical perspective, technocracy, emphasising bureaucratic and technical expertise in political, social and economic areas, is a double edge sword: on the one side, it guaranteed the condition for international cooperation post-WW II, providing as an ideologically neutral basis the condition for governance in a politically bitter international climate. On the other hand, it indicates the tragedy of increasing delegitimization of EU governance, causing the alienation of political willing from the peo-ple that is (mis-)used by populists present-day and their slogan ‘back to the people’. Technocracy is theoretically symbolised through the functionalism of EU integration, politically manifest in the re-definition of democracy from “input”- to “output”-orientation by e.g. Fritz Scharpf. The tragedy of EU politics being trapped in technocratic governance as condition of the possibility and calamity of coop-eration at the same time is analytically at the heart to understand contemporary approaches of EU (dis-)integration and identity. However, in both understanding alienation and (populist) opposition to the EU integration processes as systemic phenomena, deeply seeded in the structure of the EU and of EU policy studies themselves, as well as in suggesting a triangular democratic process to rectify the EU’s birth deficit, the paper significantly goes beyond current policy studies (e.g. on EU dis-integration) and their non-normative stance. These studies are still anchored in the epistemological commitments of neo-functionalism that need finally to be overcome as they tend to ignore the human factor and agency in politics.


Article Keywords

Regional integration, Functionalism, Legitimacy, Efficiency, Democratic triangle

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