Study - Making the EESC the facilitator and guarantor of participatory democracy activities, including structured dialogue with civil society organisations and citizens' panels

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on "Making the EESC the facilitator and guarantor of participatory democracy activities, including structured dialogue with civil society organisations and citizens' panels".

This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract as a result of a negotiated procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract to give interested economic operators the possibility to express their interest in participating as tenderers in the subsequent procurement procedure.

All economic operators established in the European Union, European Economic Area and countries with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, with proven experience in conducting studies on related topics, may express their interest in participating.


In the report on the final outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe, particularly in proposal 39, the idea of creating permanent structures of participatory democracy at European level was put forward. The European Commission is working on the follow-up to the Conference's proposals and published its initial assessment in a Communication on 17 June 2022.

The European Economic and Social Committee, as the house of structured civil dialogue with social partners and civil society, already plays a role within the participatory democracy debate in the European Union. However, the demands of the citizens go beyond the current structure of the EESC and its working methods, but this could be adapted to include the Citizens' demands.

The study, using as its primary guideline the Conference proposals (in terms of sought-after functionality), should explore different options that could provide a blueprint for institutional reform to best serve the EESC's purposes. It should do so by looking at national examples of Economic and Social Councils, where applicable, but also in countries without an exact equivalent, into the existing structures that fulfil some of the needs expressed in the proposals.

The lessons learnt from the national structures should provide inspiration and a set of conclusions on the different possibilities and recommendations for policymakers to be taken into account in the EESC, both within existing institutional settings and in the eventual situation of a Treaty reform.

The study should therefore:

  • first, compare the current EESC set-up with the needs expressed in the Conference report;
  • secondly, review the literature on the most widely accepted typologies of participatory democracy, with the main pros and cons schematically presented.
  • The above-mentioned overview of national examples should provide insights on practical approaches towards the question in a comparative position.
  • Ultimately, the study should draw conclusions from the comparison and provide recommendations for policy changes that can, based on existing and proven mechanisms, give the EESC the functions demanded by the citizens.

Languages/geographical area

The study should be carried out in English. It must initially take into account all Member States of the European Union, and consider a selection of them following duly justified reasons for the comparative phase, to provide the preliminary results.

Indicative timeline

  1. Launch of the invitation to tender: 3rd quarter 2022.
  2. Contract award: 3rd quarter 2022.
  3. The final study report is expected within 8 months following the signature of the contract.
  4. Deadline for submission of tenders: approximately September 2022.
  5. Preliminary results and their presentation will be approximately in December 2022.



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Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest to participate in a negotiated procedure of this type does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The procurement documents will only be provided to the identified candidates, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.


Expressions of interest to participate should be sent via the following contact form, before the deadline indicated below:


Monday, August 22, 2022 - 17:00