Civil Society defining Public Values? New methods of participation in Public Dialogue

During the last few decades, social movements and active citizens have been the driving force behind many changes in legislation and governance. In this view, governments and international organizations are taking up initiatives to integrate citizens’ opinion in decision-making procedures. Participation is, thus, gaining a new momentum as a principle of constitutional value that may complement representative democracy.
This paper explores new methods through which civil society organizations and individuals can take part in public deliberations. Employing recent examples from the practice of European Union and its Member States, the paper focuses on the expectations of enabling active individuals share private views while defining public interest and on the way these (formal or informal) deliberations go hand in hand with the traditional law-making process. Furthermore, it investigates the possible outcome of these instruments for the institutional design and the future of public law.