Civil Society and Governance in Europe
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Civil Society and Governance in Europe

From National to International Linkages

Edited by William A. Maloney and Jan W. van Deth

The contributors to this new book analyse the opportunities for civil society associations to contribute to European integration and decision-making from various perspectives. The research demonstrates that the Europeanization process – in terms of civil society actors adapting to the European political space – has an uneven development.
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Chapter 5: Bringing the Citizens Closer to the EU? The Role of Civil Society in Wales in the European Convention

Deborah Cook


Deborah Cook 5.1 INTRODUCTION The Convention on the Future of Europe1 was billed as the opportunity to decide upon Europe’s direction, to make efficient and comprehensible both the European Union’s (EU) structures and its processes to the public, thereby ensuring its legitimacy (see d’Estaing, quoted in European Convention, 2002a: 13). Civil society was to be a key mechanism in relaying views both to and from the Convention. Indeed the Convention’s very success depended ‘upon its ability to be receptive to the concerns and expectations expressed by society – through among other channels – the different national debates and the European Civic Forum’ (Aznar, quoted in European Convention, 2002a: 4). The French and Dutch ‘nos’ to the constitutional treaty that the Convention helped to shape challenge the Convention’s and civil society’s success in relaying such views. Thus, research is needed to confirm what civil society’s role actually was in the Convention process and to explore the factors shaping this role. Research has been conducted primarily at the European level of analysis on civil society’s role in the Convention (for example, Lombardo 2003; Borragán, 2004), although a major project has been conducted at the national and local level (see Will et al., 2005). Civil society research at the sub-national or regional level is also important because of the proximity of this level to the general public and the number of regions with legislative power in the EU,2 and to explore the presence and shape of multi-level governance (MLG) in...

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