Democracy and Federalism in the European Union and the United States: Exploring Post-national Governance

In This Review

Democracy and Federalism in the European Union and the United States: Exploring Post-national Governance

By Sergio Fabrini
Routledge, 2005
224 pp. $122.50
Purchase

This comparison between the institutions of the European Union and those of the United States, undertaken by a group of American and European political scientists, is stimulating and informative -- perhaps because each chapter is short and organized around a small number of concepts and arguments. There are no great surprises. The authors show how different the American process of democratization and federalization has been from the European one, and how different the relations between state, market, and citizenry on the two sides of the Atlantic remain. In western Europe, Fabbrini writes, "the state has defined society as such"; in the United States, "it has done no more than regulate the dynamics of its growth." The authors are also quite realistic about the challenges the complex system of European governance faces. Although the EU is not just an intergovernmental confederation, as some theorists have claimed, it is a much poorer and weaker federal system than that found in the United States.