Volume 54 (2017) / Issue 6
This paper analyses the European Citizens Initiative, consultation, and transparency in the context of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, to assess what it tells us about EU citizen participation and the principle of openness. It focuses on the institutional mediation of citizen participation and the degree to which the Commission facilitates such participation and accepts citizen influence over policy-making in EU external affairs. Three categories of openness are used in the analysis: institutional transparency with little or no participation; a democratically weak institutional approach as a means to improve the effectiveness of governance and support existing policy; and thirdly an institutional acceptance of effective citizen participation that facilitates citizen influence over agenda-setting. It is argued that the Commission has made some progress during TTIP in terms of transparency, but that the Commission does not take a strongly democratic position on citizen participation in external affairs. It only engages with citizens as passive actors who can support the effectiveness of EU governance.
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