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The European Citizens’ Initiative. New Opportunities for European Civil Actors?

Hedling, Elsa LU (2013) STVM21 20122
Department of Political Science
Abstract
The European Union is often criticized for its democratic deficit. This criticism has led to a process of including civil society in European governance through consultations, round table discussions and civil dialogue. These steps of inclusion have been oriented towards organized civil society. This study explores the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) a new tool for participation available to all European citizens. The ECI is considered to take a step further in the democratic development of the European Union by inviting all citizens to not only participate but also independently propose legislation. The study aims to understand the opportunities the ECI offer and how civil actors are using these opportunities. A theoretical framework... (More)
The European Union is often criticized for its democratic deficit. This criticism has led to a process of including civil society in European governance through consultations, round table discussions and civil dialogue. These steps of inclusion have been oriented towards organized civil society. This study explores the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) a new tool for participation available to all European citizens. The ECI is considered to take a step further in the democratic development of the European Union by inviting all citizens to not only participate but also independently propose legislation. The study aims to understand the opportunities the ECI offer and how civil actors are using these opportunities. A theoretical framework was designed combining theories of Political Opportunity Structures (POS), Europeanization and Usage of Europe. The ECI was investigated through a within case comparison of pilot and official initiatives. A content analysis, a survey and interviews were conducted to approach the initiatives. The findings of the study suggests that the ECI is perceived as an opportunity structure in terms of a step towards direct democracy, policy influence and a stepping-stone for future ambitions. Civil actors have seized the opportunities through strategic, cognitive and legitimizing usage. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Hedling, Elsa LU
supervisor
organization
course
STVM21 20122
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
POS, Usage of Europe, Europeanization, European Citizens’ Initiative, European Union
language
English
id
3348774
date added to LUP
2013-02-05 14:31:38
date last changed
2013-02-05 14:31:38
@misc{3348774,
  abstract     = {The European Union is often criticized for its democratic deficit. This criticism has led to a process of including civil society in European governance through consultations, round table discussions and civil dialogue. These steps of inclusion have been oriented towards organized civil society. This study explores the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) a new tool for participation available to all European citizens. The ECI is considered to take a step further in the democratic development of the European Union by inviting all citizens to not only participate but also independently propose legislation. The study aims to understand the opportunities the ECI offer and how civil actors are using these opportunities. A theoretical framework was designed combining theories of Political Opportunity Structures (POS), Europeanization and Usage of Europe. The ECI was investigated through a within case comparison of pilot and official initiatives. A content analysis, a survey and interviews were conducted to approach the initiatives. The findings of the study suggests that the ECI is perceived as an opportunity structure in terms of a step towards direct democracy, policy influence and a stepping-stone for future ambitions. Civil actors have seized the opportunities through strategic, cognitive and legitimizing usage.},
  author       = {Hedling, Elsa},
  keyword      = {POS,Usage of Europe,Europeanization,European Citizens’ Initiative,European Union},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The European Citizens’ Initiative. New Opportunities for European Civil Actors?},
  year         = {2013},
}