Beate Kohler-Koch
NGOs in the European Union

St. Petersburg
Forum „Social Petersburg – 2010

From the very beginning Non-Governmental Organizations have played a prominent role in European integration. With the deepening and widening of the EU NGOs have become more numerous and more active in Brussels. Furthermore, in the last two decades the EU has design a new consultation regime that has lowered the threshold for NGO access and has attributed NGOs a more prominent role in EU policy-making. Especially NGOs representing the value and rights based sector have profited from the change in procedures and the European Commission’s financial support. However, despite all efforts the EU is still marked by biased representation: Market related actors are more active than proponents of public interests and territorial interest representation is biased in favour of old Member States and countries in the North and West of Europe. Furthermore, NGOs have great difficulties to exert effective participation because they cannot hold EU institutions accountable.