The European Citizens’ Initiative

This afternoon I gave a talk on the European Citizens’ Initiative to a group of about sixty visiting Italian students from the political science faculty of the LUISS University (Rome). They had come to Brussels to participate in a simulation of the EU legislative process leading to the adoption of the implementing regulation. My talk therefore came in between a simulated meeting of COREPER and the first, simulated, ‘trilogue’. I tried to situate the Initiative in the broader history of the European integration process, from the disappointments of the constitutionalist  ‘big bang’ approach in the 1950s, to the pragmatic Monnet method of incremental development, and from the technocratic to the increasingly political. The Union’s first response to the growing ‘democratic deficit’ was parliamentary – direct elections to (1979) and then legislative powers for (1986) the European Parliament. The Treaty provisions arising out of the Convention and culminating in the Lisbon Treaty (implemented December 2009) complemented this with what I like to term a ‘composite democracy’. Now juxtaposed with representative democracy (the European Parliament, the national parliaments) are participatory democracy (structured dialogue with organised civil society) and direct democracy (which is where the Citizens’ Initiative comes in).

1 Comment

  1. thanks, Martin, for an inspiring talk

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