EU referenda in Greece and the UK: Questions of legitimacy

EU referenda in Greece and the UK: Questions of legitimacy

Thursday, 30 January 2020 - 12:30pm
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Venue: 
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Speaker(s): 
Evangelos (Evans) Fanoulis (Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University)
Chair: 
Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Convenor: 
Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Series: 
SEESOX

Light lunch provided

Considering the increasing dependence of EU politics from the domestic context of member-states, this theoretical essay suggests that we need to rethink EU referenda’s legitimacy both at national and supranational levels, and according to the type of the referendum. Unlike research on EU referenda that is mostly informed by direct democracy, the paper employs the agonistic democracy approach due to the latter’s normative imperative for citizens to have an effective say in their governance. Discussion proceeds as follows. The first section critically comments on seminal readings of EU legitimacy. The section that follows presents the basic features of agonistic democracy, and its value-added for assessing EU referenda’s legitimacy. The third section comparatively explores the recent Greek and British EU referenda to demonstrate ensuing legitimacy problems at national and supranational levels. The concluding remarks capitalize on the present analysis to raise broader reflections on legitimacy issues in the EU.

Dr Evangelos (Evans) Fanoulis is lecturer in International Relations at Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University. He was previously postdoctoral researcher at Metropolitan University Prague, lecturer in Politics at the University of Leicester and fellow at the Department of Government, University of Essex where he also did his doctorate. His main research interests lie within democracy and populism in Europe, European security governance, EU-China relations, and post-structuralist IR theory. He has published a research monograph entitled The Democratic Quality of European Security and Defence Policy: Between Practices of Governance and Practices of Freedom with Routledge and is editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies. Other publications of his include articles in the journals European Security, European Politics & Society, Global Society, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and Journal of Common Market Studies as well as book chapters in edited volumes