EU Governance and EU level Organised Civil Society:Is ‘input legitimacy’ through elite groups a lost cause, and are group oriented attempts at input legitimacy Pareto efficient with output legitimacy? Justin Greenwood
White Paper on Governance (WPG) • Addressed to both input and output legitimacy • input legitimacy is structurally difficult, some prescribe concentrating on output legitimacy • WPG pursuit of input legitimacy via elite groups as a second best avenue – or a hopeless case? • Will pursuit of input legitimacy with groups be Pareto efficient with output legitimacy?
The structural difficulties of EU input legitimacy i.e., the absence of: adversarial party politics elections which seem to make a difference EU wide political parties EU wide media an intelligible decision making system
Features of EU Interest Representation EUhighly suited to interest group politics natural constituency for Commission 1500 groups across civil society – but almost none represent individuals highly elite and institutionalised but very open to outsiders – near overload? no one interest can routinely dominate business collective action issues well placed citizen groups
The Citizen ‘Policy Frame’ Post White Paper Governance agenda a part shift in emphasis from output to input legitimacy: Open consultations Extended Impact Assessments Demonstrate responses to consultations – a voluntary shift of accountability at risk of output legitimacy?
The White Paper...more participation for more accountability “civil society organisations need to tighten up their internal structures, furnish guarantees of openness and representativity, and to prove their capacity to relay information or lead debates in their member states”(p.17).
“Although it would be misleading to argue that all NGOs fail to demonstrate any such capacity, necessary structures to allow NGOs an EU socialisation function, such as the existence of methods of internal decision making which allow supporter input into NGO EU strategy, are in general conspicuous by their absence. So too are mechanisms by which NGO supporters or members can hold these organisations to account, or make an input into their decision-making” (Warleigh, 2003, p.118)
“while ideally it would be good to get people involved, time pressures mean that the most effective use of my time is to get on with advocacy. In the end my role is not to encourage the most participatory governance, but to ensure the best results for the environment” (in Sudbery, 2003, p.90)
“NGOs will be unable to act as agents of civil society Europeanisation unless they are internally democratic and willing and able to act as agents of political socialisation, with particular reference to EU decision making and policy…NGOs are as yet simply not ready to play this role, and...it cannot be assumed that their capacity to act in this way will be improved....their internal governance is far too elitist to allow supporters a role in shaping policies, campaigns and strategies....Moreover, most NGO supporters do not actually want to undertake such a role...NGOs are no ‘magic bullet’ which will automatically hit the target of political socialisation” (Warleigh, 2001, p.635).
The CONECCSinitiative a new database of interest groups on Europa. Inclusion is contingent on confirming that the interest group is formally constituted, EU wide, active, with expertise, and prepared to provide information about itself. There are further compulsory questions about group establishment, objectives, and post-holders, and for those involved in EU consultative bodies, about sources of finance and details of members
CONECCS – the start of de facto accreditation? Traditional Commission line – accreditation & regulation would cut off its lifeline CONECCS system has no checks on entry, Commission limited capacity to do so input overload beginning to damage output legitimacy – regulation likely to develop civil society groups are for, not of, a cause Economic & Social Committee well placed, if only...
Economic & Social Committee criteria • exist permanently at Community level • provide direct access to its members’ expertise & rapid/constructive consultation • represent general concerns that tally with the interest of European society • comprise bodies that are recognised at MS level as representatives of particular interests • have member orgs in most of the MS • provide for accountability for its members • have authority to represent/act at EU level • be independent & mandatory, not bound by instructions from outside bodies • be transparent, esp. financially & in its decision making structures(Opinion on WPG, 20.3.2002)
Conclusions input legitimacy based upon elite groups limited in compensating for structural deficiencies even WPG team see real focus as output efficiency - ‘bringing in the citizen is for speeches & rhetoric’ – ‘more participation for more accountability’ a challenge for some depth & breadth of Commission/Civil Society relationship impressive attempts to find input legitimacy via groups etc may interfere with output legitimacy and lead to regulation