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Study on civil dialogue
The Civil Society Contact Group published in autum 2006 the study Civil Dialogue, making it work better, which reviews and assesses NGOs' participation in the European project. "NGOs have played a key role in the development of a more democratic and accountable European Union. Over the years we witnessed the multiplication of opportunities for citizens to take part more directly in the EU project, going from online consultations to citizens' forums or juries" said Ilona Kish, chair of the Civil Society Contact Group. "However, more is not necessarily better: time has come for a common reflection on how to make participatory democracy work better in the EU", she added.
Based on case studies analysing key moments of the EU public debate (such as the constitutional process and the Service Directive), the study is intended as a contribution to the heated debate on how to better connect the EU to its citizens.
The study identifies three main challenges:
"Bringing the EU debate out of Brussels is a major challenge upon institutions and political parties, but also upon us as NGOs. Member of the Civil Society Contact Group will devote all their energy to act as motors of the EU debate and face these key challenges ahead of 2009, and beyond", Kish concludes.