ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we analyse non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as representatives of civil society to examine their possible role as agents of EU politicization and in the transformation of the EU polity. More specifically, we ask how leading activists within NGOs in Germany and Britain constructed collective action, and examine their views of what the European democratic polity should consist of, in relation to the EU’s Constitution-making attempts. Our research focus is not on the organizational features of interest representation and civil society organizations’ strategies to influence EU decision-making.1 Instead we try to reconstruct how national civil society representatives interpret and evaluate the potential for European democracy by referring to the EU’s Constitutional reform process. We want to examine how NGOs from civil society perceive the EU as a polity-in-themaking, and how this shapes their views and actions with regard to their intermediary role in bridging the gap between EU-level decision-making and citizens. How did they respond to the opportunities presented by the EU’s Constitutionmaking which emphasized a new role for civil society? What implications did their perceptions of the potential for a new European democratic polity hold for their substantive efforts to enter the multi-level game? Did they seek to expand the scope of participation in EU decision-making by campaigning on issues and by targeting public constituencies, or were their aims more restricted to establishing their own status and influence within the confines of EU policy communities?