EU Long-Term Residents and Democracy of the Union

Behnam Balalimood

The right to participate in the European Parliament elections is exclusively reserved for EU citizens. This has left twenty million permanent residents of the Union, who lack the Union citizenship, without a voice in the Union's policy making. This paper seeks to illustrate that these permanent residents of the Union also form part of the Union's demos, and thus should be given a voice in its democratic process. In this paper, three leading democratic legitimacy principles, namely, the principles of affectedness, stakeholder, and coercion will be used, in order to establish that the EU's democratic legitimacy depends on the extension of voting rights to the Union's permanent residents. It will be argued that the Union would never become a democratically legitimate institution while a large part of its demos has no say in its decision-making. The subject of this paper is timely, as the number of individuals who acquire the status of EU permanent resident is expected to significantly raise in the next few years. The higher the number of EU permanent residents excluded from democratic process, the deeper the gap in the democratic legitimacy of the Union becomes.

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