Legitimating the European Union focuses on the notions of political legitimacy in the European Union. Since the early 1970s the EU has never been perceived to be as legitimate as it needed to be. Legitimizing factors, such as the elections to the European Parliament or increasing European Parliament powers have always lagged behind popular perceptions of what was needed at the time. Mather proposes that the EU suffers from a 'legitimacy deficit' and that this deficit matters (assuming the EU does not propose to be a dictatorship). The book links legitimacy theory to the way in which the EU's citizens experience and react to supranational forms of governance.

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