6th Framework Programme (2002-2006)
 
 
 
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Project 03 Detail:
Arguing and Persuasion in EU Governance
 
Project completed

New modes of governance focus on the inclusion of non-state actors in the provision of common goods on the one hand, and on non-hierarchical modes of steering, such as learning, socialization, and persuasion, on the other. This sub-project concentrated on the latter processes and on one particular form of non-hierarchical decision-making, namely arguing and persuasion. Through comparative case study research we probed central assumptions of the literature on deliberative democracy, which claims that reason-giving and arguing in non-hierarchical settings help to overcome collective action problems, improve the democratic quality of EU governance, and increase its problem-solving capacity. We refined the definition of arguing and persuasion as reason-giving in order to alter actorsí choices and preferences. Yet, the literature has not yet yielded strong empirical results as to the impact of deliberation and communicative persuasion. Against this background our project sought to:

- increase our empirical knowledge about persuasion and arguing in the emergence and execution of new modes of governance;

- specify the scope conditions under which learning and persuasion improve the problem-solving capacity and the democratic legitimacy of EU governance;

- develop practical proposals on how to create institutional contexts in which processes of learning and persuasion yield results and improve the quality of EU policy-making.

The empirical domain of the sub-project concerned constutionalization processes in the EU, namely EU treaty and constitution-making. Negotiations in the context of the Constitutional Convention were compared to the traditional method of treaty-making through Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC). In a detailed comparative case study on the negotiations in the 1996-7 IGC and in the Convention on the issue of a single legal personality of the European Union we had first synthesized various explanatory factors, which were then probed in a further case study on negotiations on Social Europe. From this research we drew generalizable conclusions on the institutional scope conditions for deliberation, which ultimately allowed us to develop practical proposals for future treaty revision processes.

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Page updated: 9/12/08

Co-ordinated by the European University Institute