Deliberative democracy and EU consultation mechanisms

Irina Tanasescu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Deliberative policy-making is a theoretical approach rooted in the thinking of Rawls and Habermas and increasingly developed over the last decade. It is mostly applied to local politics and advocates the participation of all interested parties in the decision-making process. This particular view on policy-making leads to a rethinking of core concepts such as "legitimacy" or "public interest", given that it takes away from the State and the elected officials some of their policy-making capacity.

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on how deliberative principles could play a part in reconsidering the democratic legitimacy problems reproached to the EU. As closeness and bureaucratic decision-making are one of the main targets of EU critics, I will look at how the EU decided to tackle this problem by creating highly institutionalized forms of stakeholder consultation in two policy areas: social and environmental policy-making.

After an overview of the deliberative democracy theory and of its implications and of the consultation mechanisms in social and environmental policy-making, I will look at whether and how participatory principles apply in the two policy domains mentioned above. The application of deliberative principles to these areas will be as encompassing as possible, thus using not only ideas of representation of all interests but also that of "legitimacy of representation" (Parkinson) in the different consultation bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaper presented at the 1st GARNET PhD Seminar, Brussels, Belgium, 12-16.12.2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • deliberative democracy
  • consultation
  • participation
  • social dialogue
  • environmental policy


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