In a modern and democratic society, it is vital to have the support of active and committed citizens, as well as of the organisations in which they come together to give a voice to their concerns, in order to realise political ambitions and objectives.
Ensuring participation of grassroots-level players, through their representative organisations, in policy-shaping and decision-making processes is therefore a key instrument to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions. Their involvement furthermore facilitates the emergence of a new consensus on the sense and direction of public affairs and makes it possible to shape policies and to make decisions in the general interest. Through their experience, expertise and specialised or technical knowledge of the topic in question, the quality and credibility of political decision-making can be greatly enhanced.
In particular, significant prospects for the development of participatory democracy are opened through Article 11 of the new Treaty on the European Union, which lays the foundations for the future establishment of a genuine structured civil dialogue at European level alongside the social dialogue with the social partners, thereby ensuring sustainable participation of organised civil society in the European political process.
In view of the role assigned to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) by the Treaties and in the light of its membership and the expertise of its members, the Committee is, in the overall EU institutional framework, the ideal forum for representing civil society organisations, expressing their views and providing them with information. The EESC, as a bridge between the EU and civil society, has an essential role to play in promoting greater support for and participation by civil society organisations in the European venture and in bringing participatory democracy to life.
The Committee takes numerous initiatives to ensure as broad a representation as possible of organised civil society and, in particular, to strengthen its cooperation with European civil society organisations, notably by setting up a Liaison Group. As both a channel of communication and a structure for political dialogue, this framework for cooperation gives the Committee the opportunity to play more fully and more effectively its role as intermediary between the EU institutions and organised civil society. Furthermore, it provides civil society organisations with a specifically designated forum for dialogue and debate, thus contributing to optimising synergies between different players of organised civil society on issues of common interest.
For more information, Mr Pierluigi Brombo is at your disposal:
Tel.: +32 2 546.9718
Fax: +32 2 546.94.69
E-mail: Pierluigi Brombo