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European Union’s ‘Participatory Turn': An Appropriate Approach for Youth?

Ferran Davesa

The White Paper on Governance (2001) outlined five good governance principles to lead EU rules, processes and behaviour to a path of enhanced legitimacy. These principles are openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence. The study is aimed at analysing its normative synergies and tensions in terms of ‘input’, ‘output’ and ‘throughput’ legitimacy. In doing so, it examines the normative foundations of EU’s ‘participatory turn’ and tests them against a sectoral proposal of enhanced dialogue between citizens and EU policy-makers: the White Paper on Youth (2001). The analysis relies upon an interpretative content analysis of both policy documents. As a matter of results, important discrepancies appear as regards both the saliency and the framing of participation: while the Governance Paper gives scarce attention to this good governance principle and focuses on EU’s effectiveness, the Youth Paper develops a more input-oriented strategy. Nonetheless, this comes at the cost of softening the ‘political’ lines of the term by blurring the link between ‘participation’ and the EU policy-making process.

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