RECON Online Working Paper 2011/01

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Enhancing the Democratic Legitimacy of EU Governance?

The Impact of Online Public Consultations in Energy Policy-Making 


Radostina Primova (Vrije Universiteit, Brussel)



With the White Paper on European Governance (2001) the European Commission has introduced a new approach to European policy-making and civil society making public consultations an essential tool for improving governance and policy outputs. The present study seeks to explore the role of online public consultations in enhancing democratic legitimacy at the policy preparation stage for the empirical case of the EU energy policy. First, the paper looks at different concepts of legitimacy and discusses the role of civil society as a cure for the democratic deficit of European policy-making. Second, it examines civil society participation and input in the consultation on the Green paper ”A European Strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy” and evaluates its impact on policy outputs by analysing two major legislative packages in the energy sector. Finally, it draws implications about the democratic quality of the consultation mechanism and its contribution to legitimising EU governance.



Civil Society — Energy Policy — European Public Space — Governance — Legitimacy — Public Consultations


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