Does enhanced transparency, through the Internet, boost the legitimacy of the EU? In this paper we present a critical perspective on the assumptions underlying the relation between transparency and legitimacy. We reconstruct three assumptions from EU policy documents – transparency strengthens input legitimacy, output legitimacy and social legitimacy – and then highlight several weaknesses. We conclude that transparency is a key element of democratic institutions but nave assumptions about the relation between transparency and legitimacy can and should be avoided. We warn against a simplified trust in the benefits of the Internet: enhancing legitimacy is much more complicated than creating fancy websites.
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