Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Democratic legitimacy and the European Citizens' Initiative : a recipe for disappointment and disaffection?
Author: Hatton, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 4560
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The European Union has long been argued to suffer from a deficit of democratic legitimacy. One recent innovation introduced with the intention of addressing this deficit is the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a means by which 1 million EU citizens can ask the European Commission to propose new legislation. In 2015, three years following its introduction, opinions on the performance of the ECI amongst EU politicians, journalists and campaigners are tinged with disappointment and disaffection. This thesis asks to what extent the sceptics are warranted in their frustrations towards the ECI or whether it is able to live up to the high expectations of the EU institutions at the time of its introduction. By drawing analytic criteria directly from the theory of democratic legitimacy and applying them in a systemic manner, I address how the ECI can, in principle, and has thus far, in practice, affected the EU in terms of inclusion in policy making, impacts on policy outcomes, and the pursuit of normatively justifiable and salient issues. Using case studies of the first four ECI campaigns registered by the Commission, I argue that the ECI has the potential to contribute to the inclusion of EU policy making through the activation and formation of multiple, issue-specific demoi in the EU, which can form the basis of democratic legitimacy. I also find the ECI capable of producing tangible impacts on EU, national and local policy, though mostly in ways unintended by the Regulation underpinning the instrument. Effects on inclusion and impacts are, furthermore, affected by the salience of the issues the ECI is used to pursue, and the normative justifiability of the issue in terms of how it upholds the political equality of the people can directly enhance the EU’s democratic legitimacy. Given these findings, it is concluded that the ECI, despite the current disappointment of many commentators, has scope for unanticipated positive, though limited, impact on the EU’s democratic legitimacy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JN Political institutions (Europe)