Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The European Public Space Observatory: Assembling Information that Allows the Monitoring of the European Public Space, EUR 23312

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2001-00069


There are normative as well as specific European considerations for prioritising a strong model of democracy for the European Union centred on the public sphere. One central motivation relates to the complexity of existing democracies in advanced societies that tends to violate the background conditions underlying the representative model of democracy operating by aggregation and delegation. To this must be added the thickness and self-contained nature of the institutional systems of each EU Member State, especially in areas such as education, culture, social welfare and law and order, which render any straightforward or frictionless aggregation of interests largely impossible.
Effecting the conditions for a strong democracy in advanced societies or the European Union is best thought of as a process of (further) democratisation than one of constituting a new model for democracy. The ultimate aim is not to undo and create new democratic institutions and procedures at different levels but rather to reform existing ones in ways that ensure that the underlying principal democratic ideas are organically sustained.
The overall aim of the EUROPUB project has been to explore the applicability of a strong model of democracy for the European Union. Our research concentrated on two key areas for the European public sphere: first, the level of policy-making and the openness of the latter to citizen participation and contestation; second, the political discourse about Europe and specifically the project of political integration.

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