This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294


Public Involvement as a Source of Legitimacy in a Cooperative Diverse Union – A Comparison between the European Union and Switzerland

September 14, 2015

Author: Hester Kroeze, Utrecht University, The Netherlands



Integration of autonomous legal and political units is inevitably accompanied by contestation of its legitimacy. Most recently, we have seen this in the context of the continuously further-going integration in the European Union, which has led to fierce debate about its right of existence and its future. However, even though the European Union is claimed to be a sui generis, it is not the first cooperation among autonomous states that struggles with these issues. For instance, once the Helvetic Republic was also merely a loose cooperation among autonomous states, which chose to work together for their convenience, and which turned out to be successful. Therefore, it is relevant to compare the issues that are topical in the European Union today with the evolution of the Helvetic Republic, which is what this research aims to do. More specifically it focuses on the interaction between citizens and the respective governments, which includes matters of citizenship, democracy, sovereignty, fundamental rights, and legitimacy.


Download the full paper: Hester-Kroeze-bEU-Citizen-2015-Legitimacy-of-the-European-Union.