Developing a European Polity: the case for governance on the Internet at the European Level

Shahin, Jamal (2002). Developing a European Polity: the case for governance on the Internet at the European Level. UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda. UNU-MERIT.

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    Author Shahin, Jamal
    Title Developing a European Polity: the case for governance on the Internet at the European Level
    Series Title UNU-MERIT Research Memoranda
    Volume/Issue No. 7
    Publication Date 2002
    Publisher UNU-MERIT
    Language eng
    Abstract Issues of European governance are currently at the fore of the debate on Europe's future. Deliberations on the White Paper, which has recently been released (July 25, 2001), have been encouraging and have reaffirmed the status of governance at the European level to be a worthwhile subject of discussion. European political developments, in the widest and deepest senses, have both necessitated and accelerated this debate. However, the fact remains that Europe's citizens still consider a well-defined European polity to be a distant, and sometimes undesirable, aim. What is evidently missing from the Governance White Paper is a clearly defined policy regarding the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is not enough to say that eGovernment is a priority issue for eEurope. European governance in this context is about a more democratic and accountable set of European institutions, and one way of encouraging this is to bring the citizen closer to the multiple levels of decision-making institutions. ICT can have a key role to play in this instance, and this paper will discuss the possible future of electronic democratization processes in the European institutions, as opposed to the establishment of 'electronic democracy'. Three roles for ICT will be extracted from the current debates upon electronic democratisation: _タ_Networks (of people and institutions), _タ_Responsiveness (to participation), and _タ_Dissemination (of information). Whilst the technology can be seen as supportive, there is also the tendency to rely upon the technology to solve problems of inefficient government ' and thus provide a general response to the increasingly perceived 'democratic deficit'. The paper will start to describe the link between technologically-mediated innovations in political practice and the impact these have on the process of democracy in the European Union. The paper will state that attempts to improve efficiency in current administrations do not go far enough in helping with the development of governance at the European level. If development of the European political space is seen as desirable, then the role of ICT is one that should be carefully considered as an potential enabler and not a panacea. Fora such as those facilitated by new ICT provide an attractive way to unite European actors. These fora have the likely effect of not only reducing the democratic deficit through more defined information channels, but also have the potential to encourage greater involvement. This in turn, may lead to legitimation of the European polity. How this is to be done in the context of a unique European framework is still not clearly defined, and whilst the democratic deficit is clearly a problem for European institutions, the broader question of the nature of the European Union (super-state or intergovernmental organization) is still not entirely answered.
    Copyright Year 2002
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Fri, 13 Dec 2013, 12:42:47 JST