The European Citizens’ Initiative: a new sphere of EU politics?
Garcia, Luis Bouza
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GARCIA, L. B. and GREENWOOD, J., 2014. The European Citizens’ Initiative: a new sphere of EU politics? Interest Groups & Advocacy, 3 (3), pp. 246-267.
EU public policy is notoriously technical and consensus orientated, and dialogue between political institutions and interest groups enhance tendencies for inward looking and elite politics. The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) seems to offer an opportunity to remedy these structural defects. We examine the entire set of more than sixty signature collection campaigns stimulated by the ECI for the degree of contention and type of campaign they bring to EU politics. A key feature of a majority of campaigns involves a diversity of origin, both by territory and campaign source. We record the diverse ways in which the ECI has been utilised by campaigners, noting how campaigns have largely been introduced by a markedly different set of activists than professionalised EU lobbyists, many newly mobilised by a direct participation device, and which may require EU lobby organisations to engage with new forms of campaigning. A key finding is that campaigns originating from sponsors already well linked to EU politics were less likely to be of a contentious nature than those from other sources.