The Role of Citizens in an Indecipherable Union
Although citizens have returned to have faith in the European project, this does not seem sufficient to assuage their skepticism about a European Union perceived as distant and therefore never listening.
Citizen engagement is the best antidote to generalized democratic disillusionment. Yet, the White Paper which relaunched the debate on the future of Europe is blatantly silent on the issue of civil participation.
As I argue in my new book, Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society , to win the democratic challenge in Europe (and elsewhere), the aim must be to promote a renewed culture of participation, connecting those seeking to make a difference, with the numerous opportunities that already exist. This is what I call provocatively citizen-lobbying.
Through direct action, citizen-lobbying is able to offset the special interests of the few who, through very specialized professional consulting services, are able to tilt the institutional tables in their favor. Even if citizen lobbying would spread throughout Europe, it would be very difficult to give all citizens the same heading. It would, however, improve the relationship between elected and electors. In addition, it reinforces the political process, and raises citizen awareness of the complexities of the decision-making process and the balances that policymakers have to perform on a daily basis.