University of Leicester
2014BUSSCHAERTGPhD.pdf (2.53 MB)

Participatory Democracy in the European Union : a Civil Perspective

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posted on 2014-07-10, 15:00 authored by Gautier Busschaert
Because representative democracy may be reaching its limits, the EU has turned to participatory democracy. The participatory turn is torn between a moderate and a radical version. The moderate version revitalises the Community Method (CM) by formalising the dialogue of European institutions with organised civil society, while the radical version celebrates its demise as a chance for national governments to coordinate their policies in partnership with civil society through the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). In order to assess the participatory turn, this thesis takes the view that civil society is a pluralist sphere of participation between state and market wherein deliberative democracy realises its full potential. Democratisation proceeds whenever civil society manages to assert influence over state and market without falling prey to their colonising tendencies. This emancipatory process has so far taken place within the context of national welfare states. The fundamental question raised by the turn to civil society is whether multilevel social Europe will be able to continue this trend. Therefrom arise three research questions which this thesis explores in detail. Firstly, does European economic law colonise civil society? Secondly, is social Europe democratic in the sense that it opens European governance to the democratic influence of civil society? And finally, is social Europe effective, that is, able to protect civil society from European economic integration? The first question is essential, for a civil society colonised by markets would be in no position to legitimise social Europe at a time where it more than ever needs its protection. The last two questions require that radical OMC be compared with moderate CM, so as to critically assess whether the former performs better than the latter.



Cygan, Adam

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Law

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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