Events Calendar

Monday 20 November 2017 16:30 - 18:00
  • EC
  • ELG

Supranational public reason: On legitimacy of supranational norm-producing authorities

Wojchiech Sadurski.jpg

In this lecture, ACCESS EUROPE Visiting scholar Wojciech Sadurski will discuss democratic legitimacy at the supranational level.

The emergence of strong authorities beyond the nation state has raised questions about the absence of democratic legitimacy at the supranational level. The usual response to this dilemma has been an attempt to uncouple the strict link between national statehood and  democracy, and in the process, to confer a degree of legitimacy on supranational authorities. This article argues that such an uncoupling is unconvincing, and that within the legitimacy-democracy-statehood triangle, the uncoupling of legitimacy and democracy is a more promising strategy. The legitimacy of supranational authorities is grounded in their appeal to ‘public reason’ – a legitimacy-conferring device well-suited to supranational authorities, as illustrated in this article by the examples of the European Court of Human Rights and the WTO dispute  settlement system. On this basis, the article argues that we should not see the relationship between statehood legitimacy (based optimally on electoral democracy) and supranational legitimacy (based on public reason) as mutually antagonistic and engaged in zero-sum competition. Rather, this relationship allows scope for synergy, with supranational authorities often playing an important role in supporting democracy at the nation-state level. 


Roeterseiland Campus, A-building, Seminar room A 301