Date and place of thesis defense:
mr. sc. Adnan Mahmutović
Prof.dr. Kasim Trnka i ko-mentor Doc.dr. Zlatan Meškić
Thesis title: Strengthening Democratic Legitimacy in Institutional Architecture of European Union
Candidate mr. sc. Adnan Mahmutovic prepared Doctoral Dissertation titled: " Strengthening Democratic Legitimacy in Institutional Architecture of European Union". The Dissertation represents systematical, integral and detailed elaboration of important issue regarding domain of European Union law. It is composed of introduction and seven separated, but mutually related thematic units representing unique composition tailored to explain phenomenon of the strengthening democratic legitimacy in institutional architecture of European Union. Besides, paper consists of conclusion and list of the literature that has been used. The above mentioned thematic domain is elaborated in 273 pages, divided in 7 chapters, 36 titles, 71 subtitles and 57 thematic units. Text is supported by 1576 footnotes that supplement main text in documental and contextual way. Results of the conducted research are presented textually. Candidate listed only literature that has been quoted in footnotes. Literature consists of 496 bibliographic units and 93sources.
In the introduction candidate indicated reasons for choosing the theme, defined subject and goals of research, as well as methodological approach to process the above mentioned theme. Methodological framework of research is settled in the way that phenomenon of EU democratic deficit can be approached respecting his two basic dimensions. The first dimension refers to lack of responsibilities for citizens of Union, by of the ones who make decisions in European institutions. Such situation reflects weakness of legitimacy which is additionally disturbed by presence of inherent institutional imbalance obviously visible for instance in the performing real control of European Parliament towards European Commission and Council. The above mentioned weakness reflects institutional dimension of democratic deficit of the Union. On the other hand, absence of European demos founded on common identity and interests, also causes weakness of democratic legitimacy in the institutional architecture of the Union. In this case democratic deficit is related to limited possibilities of citizens' participation in the European decision making process, and its lack of their support to the whole process. Simply, the first dimension refers to reconsideration of legitimacy of the most important EU national institutions, and widely of democracy from its normatively-theoretical point of view, as well as analysis of debates on this issue. On the other hand, second dimension research subject represents concrete attitude of citizens towards democracy, as well as consequences that because of citizens' trust or mistrust in political or legal institutions follow in political life in EU. Analyzing the above mentioned deficiencies candidate tend to research where the problems come from regarding institutional and any other structure of Union. The above mentioned research trends are reasonably recognized as actual and useful scientific research, and qualified answers to these questions will provide more clear perception about strengthening of democratic postulate of European Union institutions.
In the first chapter, some issues representing basic problem of research have been considered: democratic deficit and democratic legitimacy of European Union. Through achievements of academic discussion on democratic deficit, candidate represented democratic deficit term and genesis, in essence scientific point of view about democratic deficit existence and its causes. The goal of methodological postulate which is represented by the candidate in the beginning of his research, is to approach this problem issue firstly by considering the issue of democratic deficit, and then to strengthen democratic legitimacy of the Union. Double dimension of democratic deficit of Union represents the base that whole research has been structured on.The basic aim of the research is not to propose certain model of straitening of democratic legitimacy but to consider different proposals together with Lisbon Treaty solutions.Different aspects of relations between democratic legitimacy and elements that composed Europeandemos: European democratic identity, European citizenry, European civil society, are discussed in this chapter. Having in mind that the mentioned relations are complex and that they are big challenge (because of the fact that issues absorbed by them are fundamentally dogmatic, philosophic, political and social), political-socio aspect connected to appropriate norm determined by Lisbon Treaty dominated in the analysis. In this part of the research the following issue has been discussed: is the basic lack of European project – the fact that demos has to be before national structure and economic integration, and not after them. A certain steps in Lisbon Treaty has been undertaken in order to reduce current gaps between EU citizens and institutions. Norms that introduce a new instrument of civil initiative as well as his assumed effect has been analyzed in that context
Vision of European Union as federal state is represented in the second chapter. Starting point that candidate use in this chapter is included in hypothesis that academic estimation of EU democratic deficit is based on and firstly it requires answer on the question about constitutional structure of European Union, i.e. purpose and goals of European integration process.Today, lack of democracy is mainly related to international organizations, and different forms of international cooperation where you can notice deficit of democratic control, and democratic legitimacy of political decisions, and in regard to that EU is not an exception. In that context, candidate stated that international organizations are inherently incapable to support democratic judgment. Further, candidate emphasizes that determination of the democratic legitimacy rate, as well as consideration of democracy strengthening in European Union as sui generis entity requires existence of known form of European Union constitution, so that certain modifiers typical for similar form of constitution that exists within classic constitutional law could be applied in the context. In different words, it is difficult to imagine concept of strengthening of democracy in a sui generisentity like EU is especially if we are not sure are such entities even reach democracy according to understanding of democratic legitimacy. Also, candidate argues that if we want to speak about strengthening of democratic legitimacy of Union, then we have to start from the concept that implays existence of democratic deficit, and that is concept of federal Union. This is because opportunistic approach supporters (Moravscik i Majone) emphasize in their works that Union does not suffer of democratic deficit, but of wrong perception of its nature. Differently said, between European Union as "Europe of sovereign states" and European Union as"Europeof citizens" candidate chooses possibility to research the second model. Reason for this, as candidate stated, is that research would, in another case, have methodological error which refers to the fact that research on strengthening of democratic is carried on without previous hypothetic determination is democratic deficit present at all. In order to strengthen his postulates in the second chapter, candidate separately considers issues of super-ordination and immediate action of European Union law, but also autonomy of its legal order.
In the third chapter, EU/EC Contracts have been included in the normative-legal analyze, in order to represent gradation of strengthening European Union democratic legitimacy, from the Unique European legal act, through Maastricht Treaty, Amsterdam Treaty, Nice Treaty, and to Lisbon Treaty. The basic focus in this chapter is put on evolution of jurisdiction strengthening, i.e. role and importance of European Parliament as the only institution of the Union that enjoy direct democratic legitimacy.
In the fourth chapter, which is the most important chapter within the research, strengthening of democratic legitimacy is analyzed from the institutional architecture angle, emphasizing the process of making decisions, institutions that are involved in legal process, and especially the role of European Parliament as the only directly legitimized institution of the Union.Each institution and some bodies of the Union are represented in normativeanddescriptive method in this chapter.Then, in teleologicalmethod, scopes of novelties introduced by Lisbon Treaty has been reviewed, and then through criterions of democratic legitimacy: openness and transparency, and responsibilities included in the first chapter item 1.3 reviewed achievements and presume future directions for strengthening democratic legitimacy within institutional architecture. No matter what has been mentioned, the basic methodological approach in this research is analytical and it is focused on interpretation of Lisbon novelties, but also on academic debate on democratic deficit issue, and strengthening of democratic legitimacy, as well as on functional implications of academic theory on the structure of European Union. In this chapter candidate paid special attention to Lisbon Treaty regulations that introduced new positions as President of European Council and European Union High Representative for foreign policy and security which represent important institutional factors in context of development of the Union political integration.
In the fifth chapter, candidate used politological analysis to introduce achievements of three most important strategies of strengthening of democratic legitimacy: parliamentary, post-parliamentary andpresidential.The importance of this chapter reflects the fact that needs strategic consideration of democratic strengthening issue in sui generisentities as it is European Union.
In the sixth chapter, candidate introduced concept of traditional comprehension of democracy according to which most of institutions and parliaments have the most important contribution in strengthening of democratic legitimacy. That’s why, European Parliament and national parliaments should have key role in reducing democratic deficit of EU. Candidate stated that transferof legal jurisdictions from one mayor institution (national parliament) to supra-national level did not give results in accumulating these jurisdictions within another mayor institution (European parliament), but on contrary, within regulatory competences of Council of national ministers.Such situations appears as base for perceiving institutional dimensions of democratic deficit of Union. In regard to that, candidate emphasizes hypothesis that democratic deficit of the Union could be successfully overhauled by strengthening of democratic inputs through national parliaments, i.e. where it appeared. Because of that, this chapter is dedicated exactly to the role and importance of national parliaments in the strengthening of democratic legitimacy of the Union.
In the end, an overview of Charter on Fundamental Rights is given in the seventh chapter. Starting hypothesis in this chapter is based on assertation that fundamental human rights are essentially important for democracy in general, so that means for democracy of EU also. Citizens are equal not only by the value of their vote, but first of all, by human rights and freedoms. Human rights and freedoms are the limit that authority must not violate, if it is democratic. They are guarantee for citizens of the Union to have freedom (freedom by the law) and they enable certain rights that provide them chance to influence the functioning of the Union by themselves, and in a certain way to perform control of the ones dealing with the governance. European Union necessarily need to exculpate corpus of universal values coming from the concept of good society. This concept, based on understanding, comprehension, and on practical demonstration strong commitment to fight against any kind of victimizations of innocent, weaks, and fight against different forms of modern slavery, humiliation, tyranny and misery, gives very clear perspective of supranational,collective in Europe. Differently said, if it is not based on universal values, meaning if it does not tend to spirituality and humanity, every national entity, including EU, will not last for long.
In the end of his research, candidate gave conclusive analyses that includes summary of whole research with the mentioned results and suggestions. Given conclusions respond to initially nominated thesis of the research.Candidate structured the dissertation with the clear problem questions, and give answers to these questions in academically verified way. Subject research is performed in methodologically, correctly settled research example, that gave many important indicators and guidelines that leads to right and useful conclusions, which contributed better legal-theoretic understanding of institutional architecture of European Union and its democratic postulates. By successful elaboration of the above mentioned problematic candidate gave significant contribution for development of European Union laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina, what could represents important base and abetment for another researchers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to research phenomenon related to process of European integrations.
Keywords: Democratic legitimacy, Democratic deficit, EU Institutions, National parliaments, Charter of the fundamental rights of the EU, Strategy of the legitimacy strengthening, European identities.