Whose democracy? The tumultuous road to effective civic participation

shutterstock_728317156 [Shutterstock/Lobroart]

Consulting citizens on decisions that affect them, such as deciding how to spend money more often than not collected from their wallets, is seen as a way to increase trust and accountability at all levels of government.

But how can we ensure that people know about these opportunities to take part in decision making without running for office? On the flipside, who is to be held accountable when decisions taken by unelected citizens go wrong?

Participatory democracy can increase transparency around decision-making but leaders must be willing to share power with their citizens and put effective co-decision tools in place.

That is proving to be a tall order, as we move from city districts to civic engagement at the EU level. 

Meanwhile, existing participatory exercises show that the lack of information around them and the unequal representation of citizens can limit the impact of civic participation, and could eventually undermine citizen’s trust.

EURACTIV takes a closer look in this special report.

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