Type: Working Paper
'Technocratic democratisation' : what can we learn from the European Commission’s new generation European citizens’ panels?
Working Paper, EUI, RSC, Working Paper, 2023/65
GJALDBÆK-SVERDRUP, Emilie, NICOLAÏDIS, Kalypso, PALOMO HERNÁNDEZ, Nicolás, 'Technocratic democratisation' : what can we learn from the European Commission’s new generation European citizens’ panels?, EUI, RSC, Working Paper, 2023/65 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/76116
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
This paper delves into the “new generation” European Citizens Panels (ECPs) convened by the European Commission during Spring 2023 on three issue areas, namely food waste, virtual worlds, and learning mobility. The analysis encompasses the genealogy, methodology, and achievements of the “new generation” ECPs, underscoring the inherently top-down nature of the process. The authors introduce the concept of “technocratic democratisation” to characterize a form of citizen engagement that, while moderately fostering democratic progress, is narrowly confined to the technocratic sphere and thus remains part of a broadly technocratic logic. The paper is based on and participant-observation methods (due to the participation of the authors as observers or as assistants to the facilitators during the ECPs) and unstructured interviews with panel participants. Issues discussed relato to both progress in relations to previously organised pannels under the Conference on the Future of Europe as well as limitations regarding design, citizen selection, expert choices, consensus bias, transparency, and the lack of connection to the public sphere, due to a great extent to the exclusively top-down character of the exercise in question. While opening up EU policy-making in an unprecedented manner, the process remains a technocratic one, reflecting the ever-present tension between the aspirations of a genuinely transformative exercise of deliberative democracy and the hesitation of the Commission to relinquish full control. However, despite its technocratic nature, the paper argues that these panels might contribute to incremental procedural enhancements in citizen engagement, therefore representing modest strides in a broader agenda of EU democratisation.
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/76116
Series/Number: EUI; RSC; Working Paper; 2023/65
Publisher: European University Institute