Participatory democracy in the EU should be strengthened with a Standing Citizens’ Assembly

Article by James Mackay and Kalypso Nicolaïdis: “EU citizens have multiple participatory instruments at their disposal, from the right to petition the European Parliament (EP) to the European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI), from the European Commission’s public online consultation and Citizens’ Dialogues to the role of the European Ombudsman as an advocate for the public vis-à-vis the EU institutions.

While these mechanisms are broadly welcome they have – unfortunately – remained too timid and largely ineffective in bolstering bottom-up participation. They tend to involve experts and organised interest groups rather than ordinary citizens. They don’t encourage debates on non-experts’ policy preferences and are executed too often at the discretion of the political elites to  justify pre-existing policy decisions.

In short, they feel more like consultative mechanisms than significant democratic innovations. That’s why the EU should be bold and demonstrate its democratic leadership by institutionalising its newly-created Citizens’ Panels into a Standing Citizens’ Assembly with rotating membership chosen by lot and renewed on a regular basis…(More)”.

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