How can the European Union engage and connect with the people it aims to represent? What initiatives and schemes have been used to engage EU citizens? To what extent can such procedures be considered a move forward towards a more participative and democratic Europe? This collection of internationally recognised specialists in European integration and innovative democratic practices seek to answer these key questions, explore European citizens’ thoughts and opinions about the EU and evaluate the governing elite’s attempts to engage with the public. It offers critical analysis of EU justifications and strategies for implementing Deliberative Citizens Involvement Projects and focuses on some of the major participative experiences trialled and implemented by EU institutions. By comparing these different attempts to increase and bolster the participation of EU citizens and evaluating their impact the book offers valuable and original material on the civic involvement of EU citizens and the legitimacy of the EU decision making process.
’Europe is at the crossroad: either it develops citizen participation in order to increase its political legitimacy, or its existence will be threatened. This book helps us to better understand how the first path could be made credible.’ Yves Sintomer, Université de Paris 8, France 'The answer to the question posed in the title of this new volume is a resounding ’No’, and it is, in itself, an exposeÂ´ of the lengths to which the EU will go to pretend that it has any interest at all in the opinions or will of the ’citizens’, or the idea that they should be able to influence the policy-making process. … The authorial team deploy a wide range of research techniques in order to identify the legitimising potential of these initiatives to connect people to the authoritative institutions and to allow them to contribute to the emergence of a more substantial and participative EU ’citizenship’. It is an exhaustive and thorough piece of work that includes some international comparisons with the way in which other polities approach these questions.' Journal of Contemporary European Studies 'This book makes a timely and original contribution to debates about the effectiveness of deliberative experiments at the European level. … The foreword of the book by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding suggests it may potentially have a practical impact among European practitioners by highlighting the successes and failures of EU citizen consultations, which have the potential to inform future practice. In addition it could have a much broader audience amongst scholars of deliberative democracy and European studies, and will undoubtedly be of particular interest to those concerned with the EU’s democratic deficit and how this might be remedied.' Journal of Common Market Studies This book probes into the question that has captured policy-makers and citizens alike: how to bridge the gap between the European Union (EU) and those it is to represent? The