Introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) constitutes an affirmation of the Union’s commitment to the principle of participatory democracy. The operationalisation of the ECI is characterized by a tension between the desire to bring citizens closer to the Union and their inherent institutional weakness. In overcoming this weakness the legislator relied on requirements of organization and proceduralization, which in turn raise doubts as to whether the ECI is indeed a tool for the individual citizen to participate. It seems that the tool in its current form favours already existing, well-organized interest groups, which have the means to stem the organizational, but also financial implications of the ECI. This paper discusses the impact of such a design on the principle of participatory democracy and how civic participation without restrictions might be an ideal which in reality is hardly feasible.
Despite their ubiquity in our daily lives and the role they play in market governance, private technical standards occupy an ancillary position in legal theories and are often relinquished to the category of soft law instruments. Technical standardisation, however, often rests on a peculiar public private partnership which equips private actors with blatant normative power as a result of different reception mechanisms of the standards in the legal order. While participatory rights are often considered as an essential component in upholding the legitimacy of democratic legal systems, excessive participation of private economic actors in the operationalisation of law, on the other hand, can lead to distrust in the legal system. Through the example of standardisation, this paper discusses how the traditional functions of administrative law are challenged by the multidimensional nature of new administrative spaces and, especially, by the privatisation of the power to make binding rules.
The aviation policy represents a complex policy field where the influence of international technical standards on the EU legal system is particularly relevant. The inherent transnational character of this sector requires the EU legislator to adapt to the technical standards established at the international level by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in particular to its Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) concerning the safety, the efficiency and the environmental impact of the civil aviation sector. This raises questions on transparency and openness, especially with regard to the participation of environmental protection associations, in the elaboration of international standards. Focusing the analysis on the standards on aviation emissions, the presentation analyses the legal mechanisms according to which these standards are made and incorporated in different EU legal instruments, highlighting the plurality of levels and actors involved in the process.
Courts' main task is to find solutions to disputes. However, in the course to reach this primary goal, courts perform multiple other functions. A courtroom represents a forum for communicating various ideas and interests. In such a sense, judicial process may serve as another venue for participation. Those who were not able to participate in earlier stages of rule-making or decision-making can raise their voice before the court. Slightly differently, those who already participated may claim that their participatory rights were breached. It leads to a question whether the judicial process rather provides remedy to the potential breach of participatory rights or whether it is an avenue of participation on its own, or both. This presentation will look at the role of the CJEU in the overall concept of participation in the EU. It will examine how it differs from other types of participation and how it may correct problems connected to the limited participatory rights.