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Bridging the democratic divide? The European Citizens' Initiative, demoi and inclusion in the EU

Lucy Hatton, University of Warwick

Tue 12 May 2015

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Fishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


The European Citizens’ Initiative has been put forward by the EU as part of the answer to its ongoing crisis of democratic legitimacy, but it is yet to be determined to what extent the ECI is able to live up to these expectations. Critical to an answer to this question will be achieving a certain level of inclusivity, which is closely linked to the question of the demos. By applying recent developments from the democratic theory literature, specifically those related to demoi and representation, this article addresses the extent to which the ECI has the potential to impact on the inclusivity of EU policy making. In responding to three questions of inclusivity (who is included, is any individual or group excluded, and are included individuals granted an equal voice?) with regard to the ECI rules and practical functioning, and by drawing on the case of the Right2Water campaign, it is possible to see that there is reason for both optimism and doubt. Importantly, the ECI may have consequences for inclusivity unanticipated by the EU institutions, not least as a means by which CSO representatives can bring multiple demoi into existence, and as a channel through which these demoi can act in pursuit of their interests?

About the speaker

Lucy Hatton is a final year PhD student at the University of Warwick, UK, and a visiting scholar at Griffith University, Brisbane. Her doctoral thesis asks what impact the European Citizens' Initiative can have on the democratic legitimacy of the EU and draws on questions of citizenship, epistemic democracy, participation and democratic innovation.

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