Can a directly elected European Parliament help deliver standards by which the European Union can be indirectly legitimated through its component national democracies? This article argues that the Union can be indirectly legitimate where it helps member state democracies meet their own obligations to their own publics. The Union can do just that by managing externalities in ways needed to secure core values of justice, democracy and freedom from arbitrary domination within member states. Yet that poses a predicament: for if any one member state has an interest in imposing negative externalities or in freeriding on positive externalities provided by another, then so may its voters and democratic institutions. The article argues a directly elected European Parliament can help manage that predicament both by identifying externalities and by ensuring their regulation meets standards of public control, political equality and justification owed to individual national democracies.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: An indirect legitimacy argument for a directly elected European Parliament, which has been published in final form at An indirect legitimacy argument for a directly elected European Parliament. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.