2016 | 2 | 3 | 57-75
Article title

The European Citizens’ Initiative: New Participatory Democracy Tool to Reduce the Political Disaffection of the EU or a Simple Unsuccessful Attempt?

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The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the first transnational instrument of citizen-participation and agenda-setting worldwide and it has been created with the aim to bring citizens to the decision-making process in Europe. Its potential for creating a European public sphere and alleviating the democratic deficit has been emphasized either in EU political level and in Academia level. Thus, it is a participatory democracy mechanism and currently it could be one of the main instruments to increase the legitimacy of the EU. The ECI main goal is to enable citizens to influence the political agenda of the Union inviting the Commission to submit legislative proposals and to create a proper European public sphere. It is, therefore, an attempt to reduce the citizens’ disaffection. Such high expectations reflect normative criteria which form a difficult basis for empirical measurement. This paper analyses the ECI and whether it is a proper tool of participatory democracy. The paper especially answers the question about whether the ECI is the propitious participatory democracy tool aimed at reducing or eliminating the citizens’ disaffection with the main political institutions that is suffering the EU, besides the proposal of enhancement mechanisms. Thus, an in depth legal amendment of the ECI regulation would constitute a measure to be taken to strengthen EU’s and European integration’s legitimacy. This paper provides an overview of the theoretical expectations towards the ECI.
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