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The European Citizens' Initiative: a new sphere of EU politics?

Garcia, Luis Bouza; Greenwood, Justin


Luis Bouza Garcia

Justin Greenwood


European Union (EU) public policy is notoriously technical and consensus orientated, and dialogue between political institutions and interest groups may enhance tendencies for inward looking and elite politics. A new European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) mechanism seems to offer an opportunity to address these structural defects. We examine the entire set of more than 60 signature collection campaigns stimulated by the ECI for the degree of contention and type of campaign they bring to EU politics. A key feature of a majority of campaigns involves a diversity of origin, both by territory and campaign source. We record the diverse ways in which the ECI has been utilised by campaigners, noting how campaigns have largely been introduced by a markedly different set of activists than professionalised EU lobbyists, many newly mobilised by a direct participation device and which may require EU lobby organisations to engage with new forms of campaigning. A key finding is that campaigns originating from sponsors already well linked to EU politics were less likely to be of a contentious nature than those from other sources.


GARCIA, L.B. and GREENWOOD, J. 2014. The European Citizens' Initiative: a new sphere of EU politics? Interest groups and advocacy [online], 3(3), pages 246-267. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 6, 2014
Online Publication Date May 6, 2014
Publication Date Oct 1, 2014
Deposit Date Nov 6, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 7, 2015
Journal Interest groups and advocacy
Print ISSN 2047-7414
Electronic ISSN 2047-7422
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 246-267
Keywords European Citizens' Initiative; Conflictual and consensual politics; Interest groups and social movements
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