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Representative and Participatory Democracy in the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon

Anastasia Karatzia

In recent years, the institutionalisation of representative democracy vis-à-vis the role of the European Parliament in representing EU citizens’ interests has been contested. The Treaty of Lisbon has, therefore, increased the powers of the EP by extending, for instance, its legislative role. Yet, the augmentation of the EP’s functions has not fully addressed the question of democratic deficit in the EU. Hence, the ToL attempts to further the possibility of direct democracy via other means. Article 11 TEU encompasses a host of different platforms which give voice to the EU citizens. Similarly, Article 11(4)TEU and Regulation 211/2011 provide for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). According to the relevant provisions, a million signatures supporting an ECI may lead to it becoming the basis of a legislative proposal. In light of the Lisbon emphasis on participatory democracy, this paper will examine the current place of democracy in the EU through institutional change and civic participation in the democratic life of the EU. We will also consider whether there are any lessons to be learned from current practice for improving participatory democracy and civil dialogue. The paper will finally discuss the limits of influence of the European Parliament and citizens in EU decision-making.

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