From National to International Linkages
Edited by William A. Maloney and Jan W. van Deth
Chapter 5: Bringing the Citizens Closer to the EU? The Role of Civil Society in Wales in the European Convention
5. Bringing the citizens closer to the EU? The role of civil society in Wales in the European Convention 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...
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