Governance, Participation, Good Administration, Access to Justice, Media and Ethics

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Increasing the level of public participation in decision-making is recognised as an important part of a living and open democracy (United Nations, 1993). At the European level, the link between public participation in decision-making and the rights of access to information to enable such participation was made explicit in the 1998 UN/ECE Convention (the so called Aarhus Convention) on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (CEC, 1998). The principle of subsidiarity, effectively making decisions at the lowest appropriate level, is enshrined in the Treaty of the European Union. This should, in theory apply to all levels of decision-making - from the European to local levels - in order to foster local democracy and participation, but in practice applies primarily to the distinction between the European and national levels.
With regard to public decision-making processes, the following issues should be examined:

  • Degree and quality of stakeholder participation
  • Transparency
  • Accountability and democracy
  • Accessibility to justice, media and ethics

This Impact Area is further defined by the taxonomy terms: Stakeholder Involvement in Societal Decisions, Stakeholder Equality, Autonomy of Social Partner, Effectiveness of Public Institutions, Individuals and Public Administration, Citizens´ Access to Justice, Citizens´ Access to Information, Political Parties or Civic Organisations, Media, Ethical Issues.

This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents

EU-White Paper on Governance (2001) http://ec.europa.eu/governance/white_paper/index_en.htm
The European Commission presented a White Paper on European Governance to the wider public. The Paper contains a set of recommendations on how to enhance democracy in Europe and increase the legitimacy of the institutions. The main recommendations of the White Paper are based on twelve reports, two studies and intense consultation of European, national and regional actors, as well as academics and European citizens.                                                                                                                                                    
The Commission has participated actively in the work of the Convention on the Future of Europe, established following the Laeken European Council in December 2001. It set out its point of view on the political objectives that the European Union must pursue and on the institutional framework needed to attain them on the basis of the principles set out in the White Paper.
The debate on the Future of the European Union should lead to a final draft treaty establishing a European Constitution, to replace the draft constitutional treaty resulting from the Convention[751 KB], by the end of the Intergovernmental Conference which opened in Rome on 4 October 2003. The section on European governance and Constitution contains more detailed explanations of the links between these two fundamental aspects of the political life of the EU.
 This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.

Legal Basis for the Commission to Act

The political declaration of the UN special session on social development, which was a follow-up to the UN Summit for Social Development that was held in Copenhagen in 1995, recognised that democracy, and transparent and accountable governance 'are some of the essential elements for the realization of social and people-centred sustainable development' (United Nations, 2000).
At the European level, the link between public participation in decision-making and the rights of access to information to enable such participation was made explicit in the 1998 UN/ECE Convention (the so called Aarhus Convention) on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (CEC, 1998).

Web Resources

  • Governance in the European Union:

http://ec.europa.eu/governance/index_en.htm

  • Governance at the OECD:

http://www.oecd.org/topic/0,3699,en_2649_37405_1_1_1_1_37405,00.html

  • Governance and Institution Building at the UN:

http://www.un.org/en/development/progareas/governance.shtml

  • Governance at the project level:

http://www.eu-governance.org/

  • Democratic Governance at UNDP:

http://www.undp.org/governance/

  • Good Governance at UN ESCAP:

http://www.unescap.org/pdd/prs/ProjectActivities/Ongoing/gg/governance.asp

Contact

Please link to relevant Directorate General Contact Details.

Stakeholder Involvement in Societal Decisions

Stakeholder Equality

Autonomy of Social Partner

Effectiveness of Public Institutions

Individuals and Public Administration

Citizens´ Access to Justice

Citizens´ Access to Information

Political Parties or Civic Organisations

Media

Ethical Issues.