Oskar Lindgren, K. (2015) “Why participatory governance offers a realistic route to addressing the EU’s legitimacy crisis, LSE EUROPP, 24 February.
How can EU decision-making be brought closer to Europe’s citizens? Based on a case study of the ‘REACH’ regulation governing the production and use of chemical substances, Karl-Oskar Lindgren writes on the potential for a participatory governance approach to increase the EU’s legitimacy by enhancing the capacity for stakeholders and civil society actors to play an active role in decisions. He argues that while participatory governance alone cannot solve the EU’s current legitimacy crisis, it nevertheless offers a realistic option for increasing the responsiveness of EU decision-making to the demands of citizens.
The EU is often accused of suffering from a democratic deficit, and there has been a long search for ways to remedy this situation. Acknowledging the weakness of traditional representative channels in the EU, and the difficult road ahead before any form of ‘parliamentarisation’ could be accomplished, many observers have recently shifted their attention to the direct involvement of civil society in the European political system. Letting stakeholders and civil society take an active part in policy-making is considered by many to offer a promising complement to more traditional forms of democracy. In EU circles this strategy is known as the participatory governance approach.
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