Beate Kohler-Koch
Civil Society and EU Democracy: 'Astroturf' Representation?

Journal of European Public Policy, 2010: 17, issue 1, pp. 100-116
ISSN: 1350-1763

The growing uneasiness about the democratic deficit of the European Union (EU) has incited politicians and academics alike to look for remedies other than institutional reforms and giving more powers to the European Parliament. Strategies of ‘good governance’ shifted centre stage and the governance turn initiated a lively discourse on the democratic credentials of involving civil society. This article presents the changing views on the role of civil society in EU discourse. Al though the Commission and even the Constitutional Convention put high hopes on the legitimacy input of civil society, a representation discourse is conspicuously absent. The article introduces an analytical framework to assess the contributions and limitations of civil society to democratic representation in EU governance.