This report, commissioned by the European Parliament, focused on the legal and non-legal avenues by which transparency and participation have been ensured in EU law and practice, and assessed their strengths and weaknesses post - Lisbon. The Briefing Note was published in 2011.
The democratic and legal legitimacy of action by the EU administration has been significantly altered by the normative frameworks that shape the role of the citizens in their relationships with the EU administration. With the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty, the political and administrative executive power of the EU have been strengthened and openness, transparency and participation at treaty level have been linked with democracy within the framework of “democratic principles”.
Transparency has been soundly established through the case law of the ECJ and the adoption of the legally binding Transparency Regulation. While transparency has evolved into a rather fundamental norm, a number of crucial topics such as exceptions to the norm have become highly ‘legalized’. Participation is mainly dependent on policy choice since only the right to be heard falls within the legal route to participation while participation rights have not been established in rule-making procedures. This may reflect negatively on the democratic quality of these procedures.
The European Ombudsman and the right to petition the European Parliament were also discussed as tools available to the EU citizens to react to administrative misconduct and correct administrative practices.
This report was commissioned by the European Parliament, Directorate General for Internal Policies.