The DemoCiv database: Consultation, Participation, and Representation in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
The paper presents first empirical findings of the research project “Democratic Legitimacy via Civil Society Involvement? The Role of the European Commission” (DemoCiv), concentrating on the consultation instruments applied by DG Employment and Social Affairs in order to integrate societal actors into its political processes. Three questions are highlighted: (1) which and in what way consultation instruments are applied, (2) who participates in these consultation instruments, and (3) how is the relative representation of different interest groups? Summarising the DemoCiv data it becomes clear that DG Employment restricts consultation to three main issues: CSR, Demography, and Equality and applies official consultation instruments in a very systematic way: online consultations on Green Papers are followed by a number of (stakeholder) conferences and complemented by specific expert involvement (seminars and foras). Further, the majority of consultations participants are associations (57,72 %), followed by companies (21,32 %) and public authorities (15,22 %). Although the overall number of consultation participants is rather high (1327), only a minority of organisations and institutions has participated in more than one single consultation instrument (21,18 %). Finally, with regard to the relative representation of interest groups the data show that non-market actors associations have caught up with market actors associations. Although UNICE (together with Eurochambres) remains the most consulted associational actor of DG Employment, ETUC, the Social Platform, and the European Disability Forum represent important counterparts within the DG Employment consultation system.