ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Creating Transnational Citizens on the Internet? European Citizens’ Initiatives, the Internet and Transnational Mobilisation

Maximilian Conrad
University of Iceland
Maximilian Conrad
University of Iceland

Abstract

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) was launched in April 2012 as the world’s first transnational citizens’ legislative agenda initiative. This paper analyzes the strategic use of the internet in campaigns supporting the first twelve initiatives launched since the start of the ECI. Initiatives not only have to be drawn up by committees consisting of citizens’ from at least seven different EU member states; they also have to be supported by one million signatures from at least seven different member states. This requirement of transnational mobilization presents ECI initiators with the challenge of organizing support at the European level. At the same time, it also bears the potential for a profound impact on the nature of democracy in the EU. To the extent that the ECI will be a tool used by “average citizens”, it has the potential of creating a relevant element of transnational participatory democracy in the EU that could eventually also call for a critical reconsideration of the longstanding notion of a European demos deficit. The focus in this paper is however on the strategies developed and pursued by ECI initiators to overcome the obstacle of transnational mobilization. Particular emphasis is on the strategic use of the internet, but the relevance of these strategies is also related to the importance of other support structures, most importantly already existing (transnational) civil society networks, newly established networks, and links to actors within both domestic and European institutions.