This research project aspires to broaden the analysis of the so-called 'democratic deficit' of the European Union. For that aim it turns to the concept of political legjtimacy - as classically developed by Max Weber and recently taken up by Jürgen Habermas - and to recent contributions to the political theory of the European Union. Inspired by this work I propose two hypotheses that are to be elaborated:
1 ) Apart from democratic institutions there are other sources of political legitimacy that may contribute to the public acceptance of political decisions, e.g. authority, legality and the substance of decisions;
2) The European Union draws upon these sources of legitimacy in a way that is fundamentally different from the accustomed ways of the nation-states. The Union may require new mixes. It thus also challenges our existent conceptions of the sources of political legitimacy . The project is to yield one theoretical essay and five (or so) empirically grounded essays in which the framework is applied to thematically organized case-studies. Each of these thematic essays is organized around one of the sources of political legitimacy distinguished. For each source of legitimacy a particular set of case-material ( a particular policy dossier) is selected to demonstrate in what respects the conception of this source. as it is used in the context of the nation-state , needs to be revised in the EU-context. Eventually the essays are to be bundled in a book that is to provide an overall view of the various sources by which EU-decision-making is legitimized.