Protestantismen og katolicismens tag i EU: To demokratiopfattelser

Daniel Gundager Ferrer Garrido

Student thesis: Master thesis


It is broadly agreed that a democratic deficit exists in the European Union. Since the Maastricht treaty the European Union has worked hard to better this situation. The position of the European Union in many countries is very weak, the question is why this is the case? This master thesis seeks to analyse the attitudes towards democracy in Denmark and Spain respectively. The democratic culture differs very much when analysing Denmark, Spain. The reason for this is to be found in the structures of Protestantism and Catholicism. The protestant culture is much more decentralized than the catholic and emphasizes the individual. This combined with the thoughts of philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke has created a culture where every individual is responsible for his or hers own life. From here originates the majoritarian democracy. The constitutional democracy on the other hand originates from catholic philosophy. It is very centralized and hierarchal. The power of the catholic society lies within the institutions of the church. This political structure has a great influence on the European Union. It is the case that political power in the EU lies within the institutions and that they are the pillars of the system. Two very different democratic cultures can be observed within the European Union. Ronald Dworkin uses the terms majoritarian- and constitutional democracy to describe these. The majoritarian democracy is characterized by the fact that political decisions always be made by the majority. In other words, it is always unfair when a political majority is not allowed to rule. This characterizes very well the Danish democratic culture. It is a culture based on the people and that democratic decisions ought only to be made by the people. The constitutional democracy on the other hand rejects the majoritarian premise. Here the defining goal of democracy is that collective decisions should be made by political institutions that treat all members of a community as individuals with equal concern and respect. Here the political power lies with political institutions and not with the people. The constitutional democracy can be found in the EU and in Spain among other countries. The question is whether the European Union can integrate both political systems? The answer concluded in this thesis seems to be no. The protestant nations have developed into cultural nations, where democratic legitimacy is obtained only by public participation and where political identity is related to the people. Contrary to this, the catholic nations have developed into political nations. Here the political legitimacy lies within the institutions and constitutions. The question is whether the political nation (the EU) can integrate all of Europe’s people and develop a common European identity. The conclusion reached in this thesis is EU cannot integrate both political and cultural nations as the differences between them are too substantial because of the protestant and catholic philosophy.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages68