A curious interconnectedness/consent conundrum marks today's world. Whereas states and societies are becoming more closely interconnected, increased proximity need not increase popular acceptance of federal democracy. Nowhere is this conundrum more apparent than in the European Union. The EU is engaged in a process of democratic federalization, but this process is clearly shaped by the interconnectedness/consent conundrum. In the EU democratic federalization unfolds under conditions of polity contestation. This article discusses what we may learn about democratic federalization from reflecting on the EU experience. For that we need adequate analytical tools because no ready-made analytical framework that fully captures democratic federalization is available, certainly not one that is amenable toward resolving the interconnectedness/consent conundrum. This article provides the bare bones of such a framework. The framework consists of the core components or dimensions of democratic federalization, which are devised to address the specific challenges that the interconnectedness/consent conundrum raises.