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 6: Europeanisation as Empowerment of Civil Society: All Smoke and Mirrors?

Cristina Elena Parau and Jerry Wittmeier Bains


Cristina Elena Parau and Jerry Wittmeier Bains 6.1 INTRODUCTION Despite an explosion of research into the field of Europeanisation in recent years, the outcomes and processes that constitute it remain empirically underexplored, particularly in the context of the newly acceded EU Member States of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This chapter endeavours partly to to fill this gap by exploring Europeanisation through a ‘bottom-up’ lens, asking which domestic actors get empowered and how they utilise the opportunities and avoid the constraints created by the EU at the domestic level. These questions are examined through three cases studies of a series of domestic controversies over public accountability and input legitimacy. The case studies are drawn from (at the time of writing): a current Member State, the UK; a new Member State (a leading EU accession candidate), the Czech Republic, and a poorly performing EU accession candidate, Romania (now a Member State). The cases studied are genetically modified organisms (GMO) legislation in the Czech Republic; the South East London combined heat and power incinerator in the United Kingdom;1 and the Transylvanian motorway in Romania. These case studies will shed light on how domestic civil society and government utilise the EU and its new opportunities in political contests aimed at influencing domestic policy making, and ultimately altering domestic power relations. Public accountability is understood in this chapter to be a series of political proceedings whereby the general public seeks to double-check the representativeness of democratic government against such criteria as...

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