The Medieval Origins of Constitutional Representation
Blockmans, Wim (Universiteit Leiden)
Europaeum, Oxford, (2008)
Parliamentary democracy, beyond any doubt, is one of Europe’s fundamental contributions to universal history. Wars have recently been fought, and still are being fought in the Middle East, in the belief that this will create stable democracies there. In recent years, democracy has become the hallmark for a State to be accepted into international or supranational organizations, such as the EU, at least at the level of political discourse. The admission, in the 1980s, of countries with a problematic record of democratic traditions, such as Portugal, Spain and Greece, is said to have encouraged the development of new institutional arrangements there. EU candidates are screened using the criterion of whether there is a well-established democratic system of political parties, free elections and the rule of law. Advocates of the admission of Turkey, Serbia and Albania argue that their inclusion in the Union will support the development of more democratic rule in these countries and counterbalance strong authoritarian local traditions.