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"Environmental partnerships and participatory democracy in the European Union"

Poncelet, Eric C. (1997) "Environmental partnerships and participatory democracy in the European Union". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)

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    Recent attempts by the European Union to augment its regulatory-based approach to environmental problem-solving with new policy instruments have led to the promotion of multi-stakeholder environmental partnerships--cooperative attempts to include stakeholders from the government, business, and non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors in the production of consensus-based solutions to specific environmental problems. This paper focuses on these new initiatives and examines the extent to which they are advancing democratic participation in the European Union. Drawing on ethnographic research performed with two case studies, one at a regional level in Belgium and the other at a European Union level, the paper concludes that these partnerships do foster participatory democracy to the extent that they allow citizens to participate more directly and on a more equal basis with policy administrators in the actual environmental decision-making process. Certain constraints nevertheless exist which may limit the benefits gained. These partnerships are vulnerable to co-option by the state or special interests, and they suffer from unequal representation and the potential for strained relations with existing policy institutions. The general lack of meaningful debate and engagement characterizing the case studies also suggests that environmental decision-making is still being influenced more by the forces of political and economic interests than by the public opinion being generated in the partnerships.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Participatory democracy.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Belgium
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    Other > NGOs
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1997 (5th), May 29-June 1, 1997
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2007
    Page Range: p. 26
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:23

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