A Trilogy of Participatory Democracy in United Kingdom, Germany and Nordic European Countries

A Trilogy of Participatory Democracy in United Kingdom, Germany and Nordic European Countries
Irina Marina LAZAR

Abstract: The globalization of the world and society has strained the limits of the nation-states capacity—both for democratic political life and for the redistributive policies upon which basic social justice depends (Habermans, 2003). One of the most challenging developments in the political and judicial realm of the latest decades in European Union is undoubtedly the proliferation and the reinforcing of participatory democracy. Besides the still very fluid and experimental form of its realizations, participation implies a variegated spectrum of models and procedures involving different actors and powers (Blondiaux, 2005).
In this context of experimenting different mechanisms of participation by blending them into different social realities and judicial cultures, the article will tell not just three stories or approaches of participatory democracy, but it will also follow a red thread of common tendencies, difficulties encountered in its implementation, common and particular fears, and also the perspectives of this new tool of modernizing the public administration functioning.
The aim of this paper is to understand how participatory democracy operates in United Kingdom, Germany or Nordic European countries, but also to study its implications over the behavior of citizens and politicians and over the final policy outcomes. The comparison becomes more challenging due to the difference in political and judicial organization of those countries.
Whatever would be the mechanisms of participatory democracy at local or national level and irrespective to the level of citizen’s involvement (information, consultation or co-decision), the democratic participation cannot be imposed or imported, and it will not become durable unless there are real bases in legislations, administrative organization and a genuine interest both from politicians and from the citizens.
Keywords: participatory democracy, policy, referendum, representative democracy, public administration.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18662/lumenss.2014.0301.06