Capacities of participative governance: The role of NGOs in EU politics
Master's Thesis from the year 2006 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: International Organisations, grade: 1,7, University of Bath (Modern Languages and European Studies), 64 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In the move of the 'Europeanisation', the deepening and widening of the European Union, the system of European governance is becoming ever more complex. The increase from 15 to 25 Member States and the needs of cooperation amongst the different levels of the European Union (EU) - European, national, regional and local level - are posing a challenge to democracy. The lack of democratic legitimacy of today's traditional system requires alternative ways of governing which are already developing. A solution to the question of legitimacy and structure is the deliberative democracy theory of John Dryzek. In this context Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), as representatives of civil society, are playing an important role and the EU promotes the cooperation with this sector. However, cooperation is concentrated on NGO umbrella organizations on the EU level. It is argued, that the socio-political strategy of the EU undermines the idea of deliberative democracy and in particular the function of NGOs. Through privileging selected, international networks the latter risk loosing their autonomy. Smaller and local NGOs tend to be left out, even though it is especially those that have close contact with the citizenry and the practical knowledge to develop strategies for solutions. Consequently, new socio-political structures need to aim at involving a wide range of NGOs of all sizes and levels into EU politics as partners next to international networks. EU politics need to become more flexible so that established traditions do not hazard the genuine representation and involvement of civil society in a deliberative sense and thus democratic legitimacy.
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