European Citizens’ Initiative and Post-National Democracy in the EU

The aim of this paper is to discuss the democratic implications of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) through the normative prism of the Habermasian deliberative democracy theory. The ECI was introduced into EU law in the Lisbon Treaty, as a tool for citizens to influence EU law-making. Nonetheless, the practice shows that the instrument did not prove to be sufficiently effective. After eight years of operation, only five out of seventy one initiatives have been successful in terms of being admitted by the European Commission. Thus an interesting question which arises here, is how to balance the Commission’s right of legislative initiative and the democratic underpinning of the ECI. This project attempts to look at this issue from the perspective of the deliberative democracy theory as developed by Habermas, with specific focus on sluices as connectors between the periphery and the core of the public sphere, as well as in the broader paradigm of post-national democracy in the EU.