‘Legitimacy and Multi-Level Governance in European Union Competition Law: A Deliberative Discursive Approach’ (Journal of Common Market Studies, 2015)

Abstract: Union competition law protects ‘consumer welfare’, but what role do consumers play in competition policy-making? This is the question that this article seeks to answer. In the search for an answer, the article investigates the moral (output) and procedural (input) legitimacy of the recent competition law reforms. Following a discursive approach, the article looks into the roles played by institutions deliberating for citizens (consumer organizations, European Parliament and the Union Courts) in the reform process. This inquiry results in the questioning of the reforms’ legitimacy, and it also leads to broader conclusions regarding the legitimacy of multi-level governance: expert discourses overshadow potential deliberative qualities of networks, which exacerbates networks’ legitimacy problems. Also, the input/output legitimacy dichotomy appears problematic, as expert policy-making in the absence of citizen participation does not guarantee policies resonating with public interest.

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