Prospects for e-democracy in Europe

02-02-2018

Digital tools could create stronger connections between European citizens and the EU decision-making process and, by doing so, might contribute to reducing the EU democratic deficit. This report investigates what lessons can be drawn from local, national and European experiences of the use of digital tools for the functioning of EU decision-making procedures and institutions. For that purpose, a review of current literature on e-democracy and the European public sphere has been carried out; 22 local, national and EU experiences with existing digital tools have been investigated and evaluated; and an analysis has been made of the suitability of the most promising digital tools for implementation and use at EU level. The most important factors for successful e-participation identified in the report are: a close and clear link between e-participation processes and a concrete formal decision-making process; the participatory process and the contribution of its outputs to the overall decision-making process have to be clear to participants from the start; feedback to the participants about what has been done with their contributions is an indispensable feature of the process; a participative process should not be limited to one event but should be imbedded in an institutional 'culture of participation'; e-participation must be accompanied by an effective mobilisation and engagement strategy, involving communication instruments tailored for different target groups.

Digital tools could create stronger connections between European citizens and the EU decision-making process and, by doing so, might contribute to reducing the EU democratic deficit. This report investigates what lessons can be drawn from local, national and European experiences of the use of digital tools for the functioning of EU decision-making procedures and institutions. For that purpose, a review of current literature on e-democracy and the European public sphere has been carried out; 22 local, national and EU experiences with existing digital tools have been investigated and evaluated; and an analysis has been made of the suitability of the most promising digital tools for implementation and use at EU level. The most important factors for successful e-participation identified in the report are: a close and clear link between e-participation processes and a concrete formal decision-making process; the participatory process and the contribution of its outputs to the overall decision-making process have to be clear to participants from the start; feedback to the participants about what has been done with their contributions is an indispensable feature of the process; a participative process should not be limited to one event but should be imbedded in an institutional 'culture of participation'; e-participation must be accompanied by an effective mobilisation and engagement strategy, involving communication instruments tailored for different target groups.