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Analysing the Democratic Credentials of the 'Accountability Web' in European Multilevel Governance: The Potential Role of Civil Society Organisations

Thorsten Hüller, Joint paper with Beate Kohler-Koch

Working mechanisms of accountability are a pre-condition for the functioning of democracy. Normally accountability is reduced to electoral accountability, but this mechanism is not properly working in the EU. Therefore, we take a broader approach to various kinds of material and symbolic accountability mechanisms (demanding explanation and justification, making actors face consequences, putting things right). These mechanisms are intended to bind the political elite either directly to citizens and specific constituencies or are surrogates for such direct binding. In the paper, we investigate the theoretical and methodological questions which result from the combination of multiple mechanisms. We will explore how they may add up to a European 'accountability web' and how the democratic credentials of such an 'accountability web' may be assessed.

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