Beate Kohler-Koch
Post-Maastricht Civil Society and Participatory Democracy

Journal of European Integration, 2012: 34, issue 7, pp. 808-824
ISSN: 0703-6337

The Treaty of Maastricht and even more so the sceptical public response to the further deepening of European integration triggered a new approach to civil society. This contribution explores why the concept of civil society became so prominent in Brussels and why such high expectations were placed in the democratic strengthening of Europe by involving civil society in EU governance and by starting a civil dialogue. The main part of the contribution presents the findings of an empirical investigation demonstrating and explaining how much aspirations differ from reality. At the end of the contribution the democratic potential of civil dialogue is compared with expectations regarding the European Citizens’ Initiative.