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The European Citizens' Initiative and EU civil society organisations.

Greenwood, Justin


Justin Greenwood


The procedural demands of the new European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) require the 'Citizens Committees' that host them to be backed by professional organisation. One potential source would be civil society organisations (CSOs) organised at EU level. Yet direct participatory democracy measures challenge the status of established Brussels-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking an alternative 'civil dialogue' between themselves and EU political institutions. The institutionalised advocacy orientation of these EU NGOs make them ill-suited to developing mass-campaigning activities, although the ECI concept will incentivise such groups to develop more direct links with those they seek to advocate for. By contrast, there is a new community of CSOs newly mobilised into EU politics by the ECI, largely from Germany and Austria, with a more political orientation than traditional EU CSOs. These organisations are progressively becoming EU institutionalised, opening Brussels outreaches and increasingly appearing on the (European) Transparency Register. Either way, the ability of groups to link EU institutions with civil society will be enhanced by the ECI.


GREENWOOD, J. 2012. The European Citizens' Initiative and EU civil society organisations. Perspectives on European politics and society [online], 13(3), pages 325-336. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 30, 2012
Online Publication Date Oct 5, 2012
Publication Date Sep 30, 2012
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 23, 2015
Journal Perspectives on European politics and society
Print ISSN 1570-5854
Electronic ISSN 1568-0258
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 325-336
Keywords Citizens' initiatives, Interest groups, NGOs, European Union
Public URL


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