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Opportunities for the organized civil society to influence EU decision-making via national positions

  • Author:
  • Organization:Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (Latvia), EUROPEUM Institute for European policy (Czech Republic), Institute of Public Affairs (Poland)
  • Year:2014
  • Language:english

Have we succeeded in becoming shapers of EU policy and not just passive recipients of acquis communautaire?

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Photo:Bruce Guenter

Year 2014 marks 10 years since the Eastern Enlargement when - among other countries - Latvia, Poland, and the Czech Republic joined the European Union. It was the largest enlargement in the history of the European Union and one of the most difficult: most of the countries that joined the EU in 2004 had been under the Soviet rule and still needed to consolidate their democracies.

This study aims to analyse the capacity of new member states from an unusual angle – namely, how well have the various countries managed to integrate their own civic society organisations (CSOs) into forming their national positions on EU legislative proposals and policy documents? The study covers the experiences of specific CSOs in trying to influence their own governments when they are working-out their national interests that need to be defended at the EU level.

In theory, Latvian regulation provides good opportunities for CSOs to influence national positions on EU matters, but the praxis leaves much to be desired.

The main problem for CSOs: very few of them have necessary skills and resources to be able to work on this technical level during very restrictive time frames (when one needs to formulate a position sometimes within hours).

That is why comparatively few CSOs have participated in shaping the national positions.

(Opportunities for the organized civil society to influence EU decision-making via national positionspdf)