The European Citizen’s Initiative and EU civil society organisations.
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GREENWOOD, J., 2012. The European Citizen’s Initiative and EU civil society organisations. Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 13 (3), pp. 325-336.
The procedural demands of the new European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) require the 'Citizens Committees' which host them to be backed by professional organisation. One potential source would be civil society organisations (CSOs) organised at EU level. Yet direct participatory democracy measures challenge the status of established Brussels based NGOs seeking an alternative ‘Civil Dialogue’ between themselves and EU political institutions. The institutionalised advocacy orientation of these EU NGOs make them ill-suited to developing mass campaigning activities, although the ECI concept will incentivise such groups to develop more direct links with those they seek to advocate for. By contrast, there is a new community of CSOs newly mobilised into EU politics by the ECI, largely from Germany and Austria, with a more political orientation than traditional EU CSOs. These organisations are progressively becoming EU institutionalised, opening Brussels outreaches and increasingly appearing on the (European) Transparency Register. Either way, the ability of groups to link the EU institutions with civil society will be enhanced by the ECI.