Civil Society Organizations’ Participation in the EU and Its Challenges for Democratic Representation

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

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Civil Society Organizations’ Participation in the EU and Its Challenges for Democratic Representation


  • Nicolle Zeegers Faculty of Law, University of Groningen, The Netherlands


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Abstract:  Online consultations and the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) are tools that have been put into place by the European Union (EU) in order to increase the participation of citizens and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in its politics and policy making. The current CSO representation at the system level of the EU is claimed to be biased in favor of the interests of economic producers and CSOs coming from old member states. The central question of this article is whether these tools help make participation more representative of the diversity of societal groups within the EU. The concept of ‘actor representativeness’ as well as ‘discourse representativeness’ will be applied in order to answer this question.

Keywords:  actor representativeness; civil society organization; discourse representativeness; European Citizens’ Initiative; European Union; online consultations; participatory democracy

Published:   21 December 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i4.782


© Nicolle Zeegers. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.