(E)-deliberative model of European governance in a Comparative Perspective

Co-chairs: Raphaël Kies (University of Luxembourg) and Patrizia Nanz (University of Bremen)
Friday, March 19, 2010. Room M1. 2:00pm-5:00pm
Supported by IPSA RC 10 Electronic Democracy

Website of the IPSA conference : http://luxembourg2010.org/

As this is the case for the national and local level, we witness these last years an important increase of deliberative experiments - financed in large part by the European Commission, essentially through its plan D - inviting lay citizens to debate European issues. Among the most ambitious ones one should mention the Ideal-EU project that gathered approximately 500 young citizens from three European regions to discuss on-line and face-to-face about the climate change; the Europolis project that allowed 400 citizens from the 27 member states to meet in Brussels to debate some specific EU issues and answer to several questionnaires aiming at measuring the changing of their opinion; and the European Citizens Consultation project that allowed more than 100,000 EU citizens online and more than 1,500 citizens face-to-face to debate about the economic and social future of Europe through 27 national consultations. What these and other examples of public participation have in common is the idea to explore in a more qualitative way the priorities and preferences of European citizens, to reconnect European citizens with the rather elite-driven political sphere in Brussels and, more ambitiously, to include lay citizens in the EU decision-making process. But are the propositions elaborated by the citizens sufficiently informed and representative to be seriously taken into account in the EU decision-making process? Are the participative procedures sufficiently autonomous and a-political to promote a truly deliberative debate? And, more generally, to what extent such procedures that involve a limited amount of citizens constitute a move forward towards a more well-informed Europe?
The aim of this workshop will be provide some initial answers to these questions by comparing the ways in which these major deliberative-participatory processes were organized, and to evaluate to what extent they constitute valid practices of deliberative participation at the European level. In order to reflect on these different experiments, the participants at the workshop are invited to adopt a similar framework of analysis that looks at:

1) The emergence of such participatory experiments and their likelihood to be repeated or even institutionalized;
2) The democratic quality of these processes by referring to classical deliberative criteria (inclusiveness, representativeness, reciprocity etc.);
3) The specific "Europeanness" of deliberative processes by comparing for example whether they are affected by transnational versus national character of the debates;
4) Their impact on the larger (national) public spheres and/or on the EU decision making processes;
5) And, more generally, the way these could contribute (or not) to build a deliberative model of European governance.

i.Rough Consensus: Assessing the Quality of Deliberation (Monique Leyenaar, Radboud University Nijmegen; Kees Niemöller, P&D Analytics)

ii.Citizens’ Agora – assessing the deliberative process and its impact on decision-making (Lea Roger, Helmut-Schmidt-University; Gary S. Schaal, Helmut-Schmidt-University)

iii.Talking With the Wind? Evidence On The Quality Of Deliberation In The Ideal-EU Project (Julien Talpin, CRESPPA/Paris 8 University; Laurence Monnoyer-Smith, Université de Techonologie de Compiègne)

iv.The Past and Future of Empowered Citizen Deliberation on Public Policy (John Gastil, University of Washington)

v.Coding Europolis with Discourse Quality Index (DQI) (Jurg Steiner, University of Bern)

vi.The Citizens’ Forum Europe – Assessing the Democratic Quality of Online Deliberations (Anna Wohlfarth, University Bielefeld)