History, Politics and Law
Edited by Jan van der Harst, Gerhard Hoogers and Gerrit Voerman
Chapter 7: The European Citizens’ Initiative: how to establish the influence it gives citizens over the European Union’s agenda?
This chapter intends to evaluate whether the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) indeed gives citizens more influence over EU policy-making and to answer the question of what method to use in order to establish such influence. An answer to this question is necessary in order to know whether the ECI instrument really ‘democratises’ the European Union. Departing from the specific manner in which agenda-setting processes evolve in the European Union, the ideas and methods of Dahl, Bachrach and Baratz and the Social Network Analysis for measuring influence will be compared in order to establish which of these would be most appropriate in this context. The conclusion is that network analysis is the best method for establishing differences between actors’ power over the agenda as well as changes in their relative power over time. The chapter explains why network analysis is the most promising in this respect and therefore provides the most useful answer to the question of whether the ECI leads to increased citizen influence over Europe’s political agenda.
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