over the direction of the EU policy agenda, and over who holds executive office at the European level (such as the Commission President).
But this does not mean supplanting the system of legitimacy through national parties. Rather it implies 'fusing' national political elites into transnational alliances with common partisan affiliations, policy preferences, and voting constituencies, in the same way that there has been a fusion of the behaviour and preferences of national and European bureaucratic and administrative elites in the various policy sectors of the EU (Wessels 1997b).
The result would be a mix of two models of party-based democracy. First, parties at the European level would fulfil the classic social integration function of political parties at the domestic level in Europe, through the supply of representation by internally democratic party organizations. This could be achieved through the connection of national political parties in party leaders' summits and in the EP party groups to executive office-holders at the European level (in the Commission) and the legislative agenda of the EU. Second, parties at the European level would facilitate an American-style (Schumpeterian) model of competition between rival political elites over who gets to monopolize the political agenda and control governmental office. For example, this could be achieved through a genuine 'European' electoral contest such as a reformed system of EP elections or through an election for the Commission Presidency. Parties at the European level are still some way from this model, but they are much closer than they were at the low point of transnational party cooperation in the early 1980s.
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