Applying the analytical framework of cosmopolitanism as a model of democracy; how can civil society help further the democratic quality of European Union governance (the case of Spain 2012)?
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
As the European Year of Citizens (2013) dawns, the European Union (EU) finds itself at a crossroads. One of the largest international organisations in the world, it has built a reputation as an international community model and democratic figure judged in the context of a multi-level system. However, the EU has recently departed from both roles, as its economic practices suffer dramatically from a lack of political pressure and regulation. The EU now faces an uncertain future: should it break apart or move forward with deeper integration and a “more Europe” attitude? In contrast to public and scholarly concern, this thesis does not treat the crisis as abstract evidence of a structural democracy deficit. This thesis instead attempts to draw attention to the point of departure, the European citizen, and a social cleavage that can be easily addressed despite ongoing economic insecurity. In this sense, this thesis differs from current academic thought in that it focuses less on understanding how democracy can be achieved and more on understanding how democracy, which already exists, can be enhanced. This paper looks at how two discourses identified in the literature (civil society and cosmopolitanism) could be combined in a governance framework that would support the EU to become a civilian power. It will complete this investigation through the use of case studies on two civil society organisations based in Spain and primary data collected from within the European Parliament (EP). The case studies will be used to understand how local civil society can improve the democratic quality of EU governance whilst meeting individuals’ needs and rights. This paper will conclude that, in the case of Spain 2012, local civil society creates three core conditions for active citizen participation that the EU can benefit from, despite the challenging environment surrounding it.