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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kröger, Sandra, 2008. "Nothing but consultation: The place of organised civil society in EU policy-making across policies," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 3, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eurogo:p0019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

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