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ALEMANNO A. - The EU Participatory Democracy (8h)

Professor Alberto ALEMANNO


This workshop intends to provide a strategic, timely and hands-on understanding of the various channels of participation that the EU offers to citizens and organisations. Despite the recurrent claims of democratic deficit and opaqueness, the EU offers a panoply of avenues of participation that while little known, and – as a result – historically underused, are increasingly mobilised by a variety of actors. These avenues are used by citizens, grassroots organisations, NGOs –  all generally by relying on a combination of EU funding and philanthropic support – as well as sometimes private actors to gain a voice in EU policy-making. The EU participatory tool-box includes agenda-setting tools, such as the European Citizens’ Initiative and Lighten the Load within the Refit Platform, input mechanisms in policy formation, such as public consultations on new initiatives, administrative actions, such as petitions to the European Parliament, requests for access to documents to the EU institutions and complaints to the EU Ombudsman, as well as judicial devices, such as amicus curiae brief to influence a pending case before EU Courts. Through the study of some major pan-EU campaigns and actions driven by citizens (e.g. Transnational lists, Stop Glyphosate ECI, Barrosogate, Fake News complaint, Whistle-blowers Directive, etc.) and acting under the guidance of the instructor, participants will gain a first-hand experience of these participatory mechanisms into the EU public sphere. EU participatory democracy will also be contextualised in the rapidly-shrinking space of civil society and the broader erosion of the rule of law.