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Democratic Legitimacy in the Bund or ‘Federation of States’: the Cases of Belgium and the EU

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Carl Schmitt developed the concept of the ‘federation of states’ (Bund) in order to characterise intermediate constitutional systems which are integrated beyond the level of a confederation (Staatenbund) without, however, acquiring the level of integration of an actual federal state (Bundesstaat). In this paper we analyse the constitutional specificity of the ‘federation of states’ and present three normative principles for assessing the democratic legitimacy of the decision‐making procedures within such a federation. We argue that both the European Union and Belgium can be analysed as instances of such a federation of states and show how this characterisation improves our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of both polities and the constitutional and democratic challenges they are facing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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