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Nothing but consultation: The place of organised civil society in EU policy-making across policies

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  • Kröger, Sandra
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    Abstract

    In recent years, not only governance, but also civil society has been a veritable growth industry both in politics and academia. Depending on the author, organised civil society was associated with expectations of increasing input or output legitimacy. With regard to the EU, participation of civil society organisations are officially seen as a means of bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens, as materialised in the EU-discourse of participatory democracy. On the basis of an extensive literature review, the article examines the place of organised civil society in EU policy-making processes, in particular in the following policy fields: social affairs, health, consumer protection, environment, and trade as well as in the Convention process. It does so by evaluating the democratic core norms of participation, representation and accountability and comes to disillusioning conclusions. The inclusion of organised civil society contributes little to the democratic legitimacy of the EU and is instrumental to institutional power games of the European Commission and the European Parliament. Worse, the Commission, through its consultation practices, may be contributing to an aggravation of the democratic deficit. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence that would confirm the normative expectations of deliberative democracy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CONNEX and EUROGOV networks in its series European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) with number 3.

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    Date of creation: 21 Jul 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:eurogo:p0019

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    Web page: http://www.connex-network.org/

    Related research

    Keywords: civil society; deliberative democracy; democracy; European public space; interest representation; legitimacy; multilevel governance; participation; European Commission; political science;

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    1. Paul Magnette, 2003. "European Governance and Civic Participation: Beyond Elitist Citizenship?," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 51(1), pages 144-160, 03.
    2. Webster, Ruth, 2000. "What drives interest group collaboration at the EU level? Evidence from the European environmental interest groups," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 4, December.
    3. Andrew Moravcsik, 1993. "Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 473-524, December.
    4. Follesdal, Andreas & Hix, Simon, 2005. "Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 2, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
    5. Eckardt, Martina, 2003. "The Open Method of Co-ordination on Pensions - An Economic Analysis of its Effects on Pension Reforms," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 39, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    6. Clark, Gordon L. & Whiteside, Noel (ed.), 2003. "Pension Security in the 21st Century: Redrawing the Public-Private Debate," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261765, September.
    7. Trygve Ugland & Frode Veggeland, 2006. "Experiments in Food Safety Policy Integration in the European Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 607-624, 09.
    8. Alex Warleigh, 2001. "'Europeanizing' Civil Society: NGOs as Agents of Political Socialization," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 619-639, November.
    9. Claus Offe & Ulrich K. Preuss, 2006. "The Problem of Legitimacy in the European Polity. Is Democratization the Answer?," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0028, University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages.
    10. Scharpf, Fritz W., 1999. "Regieren in Europa: Effektiv und demokratisch?," Schriften aus dem Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung Köln, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, volume 0, number sbd-1999.
    11. Mary Daly, 2006. "EU Social Policy after Lisbon," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 461-481, 09.
    12. Kröger, Sandra, 2006. "When learning hits politics or: Social policy coordination left to the administrations and the NGOs?," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 10, 05.
    13. Smismans, Stijn, 2006. "New Modes of Governance and the Participatory Myth," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 1, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hans-Jörg Trenz, Nadine Bernhard & Erik Jentges, 2009. "Civil society and EU constitution-making: Towards a European social constituency?," RECON Online Working Papers Series 7, RECON.
    2. Richard Bellamy, 2010. "The Liberty of the Post-Moderns? Market and Civic Freedom within the EU," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 01, European Institute, LSE.

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