Aspects on Involvement of Citizens in the Decision-Making Process of the European Institutions

Author:Adrian Susuianu, Florina Ramona Preda (Muresan)
ISSN: 2067 9211 Legal Sciences in the New Millennium
Aspects on Involvement of Citizens in the Decision-Making Process of the
European Institutions
Adrian uuianu,1 Florina Ramona Preda (Mureșan)2
Abstract: This work presents outline relevant issues concerning the real involvement of citizens in the
decision-making pr ocess of the European institutions as well as t he control exercised by the European
Ombudsman. Institutional development of the EU, increasing the level of integration and awareness of the
European identity s trengthened significantly b y the introduction of Eur opean citizenship by the Maastricht
Treaty of 1993 have prompted both the European institutions and the European political environment the
need to involve European citizens in making decision and creating the premises for a well-defined decisional
transparency. The establishment of the European Ombudsman, a body with the role of investigating
complaints by citizens of Member States or residents of the European Union or by associations and
undertakings based in the European Union for maladministration by the institutions and bodies of the
European Union, in addition to the fact that it i s interested in the citizen’s perception of the administrative
decisions taken by the European institutions and gives the citizens of the Member States the possibility of
exercising control over these decisions, regardless of whether these decisions have an economic or political
impact on the citizens.
Keywords: European citizenship; the decision-making process; European Ombudsman; People’s Lawyer
1. General Aspects on European Citi zenship, Rights and Obligations Set Forth by
European Union Treaties
Involvement or participation of citizens in the administrative act, in making administrative decisions at
both local public administration level and central or European level, is of paramount importance for
the administrative system and the civil society. The local, regional or European elected representatives
should represent citizens, as their decisions have an impact on the entire daily activity of citizens.
Citizens’ involvement in the activities of the Union’s institutions is achieved either by accurately
informing them on the activities conducted by the institutions as well as on their policies or by
consulting citizens with regards to questions of interest of them. An efficient government may only be
achieved with the citizens’ support. The European Union has been numerous times accused of not
being sufficiently transparent in relation to adopting decisions or to their institutional activity. In order
to improve this aspect, various campaigns of informing and raising European identity a wareness or
different programmes supported by European funds have been conducted. The official websites of the
European institutions provide information of interest to citizens in real time. The Official Journal of
the European Union facilitates the access to the European Union law to all parties interested. All
1 Senior Lecturer, PhD, University of Valahia Târgoviște, Romania, Address: Bulevardul Regele Carol I 2, Târgoviște
130024, Tel.: 0245 206 101, E-mail:
2 PhD Student, University of Titulescu București, Romania, Address: Calea Văcărești 185, București 040051, Tel.: 021 330
8606, Romania, E-mail:
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2018
debates and deliberations of the Council on legislation are made public. Accurate information of the
European citizens facilitates a constructive consultation, as every participant to consultations is
informed when taking the floor and positive results may therefore be obtained in practice. (Boc, 2013,
p. 19)
The process of political integration should have obligatorily succeeded the unification and economic
integration of Europe. The economic unification on which an agreement had been reached was not
seen as the end of a process, as it was not considered to be a goal in itself, but only as a mere
intermediary towards the political unification. Or, this process became visible as the European
Communities were being democratised. This democratisation was achieved by increase in the
authority of the European Parliament, determined by direct elections. By introduction of new
decisional procedures (firstly by the Single European Act in 1987, then by the Maastricht Treaty in
19921 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 19872), the Parliament decides with the Council on a large
number of aspects regarding the life of the Union. The representativeness and the democracy of the
Union were therefore enhanced, in other words, the citizens’ r epresentation in the decisional process
and in the democratic adoption of decisions. (Barbulescu, 2008, p. 104)
The article 1(2) of the Treaty on the European Union (TUE)3 marks a new stage in the process of
creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as
possible and as closely as possible to the citizens”. Consequently, two essential elements of good
governance/good administration are outlined, transparency and rapprochement with citizens. In
addition, the Union recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out by the Chart of the
Fundamental Right of the European Union4 and plans to adhere to the European Convention for
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms5. The fundamental rights, “as they are
guaranteed by the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
and as resulting from the constitutional traditions of Member States, represent general principles of the
Union law”, pursuant to article 6(3) of TUE. In all its activities, the Union shall respect their citizens’
equality principle (article 9 of TUE) and the proportionality principle (article 5(4) of TUE), according
to which “the content and form of the Union action shall not exceed what is necessary to achieve the
objectives of the European Union Treaties”.
The Union institutions give the citizens and the representative associations the opportunity to make
known and publicly exchange their views in al l areas of Union actionand maintain an open,
transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society (article 11 (1)
and (2) of TUE). To ensure coherence and transparency of the Union actions, the European
Commission carries out broad consultations with parties concerned. The European Parliament and the
EU Council adopt provisions on procedures and conditions required to present a civic initiative,
according to article 11 of TUE, so that the will of the Union citizens may be heard and taken into
consideration. (Craig & Grainne, 2009, p. 84)
1 The Maastricht Treaty was signed by the European Council on 7 February 1992 and entered into force on 1 November
2 The Treaty of Amsterdam, adopted on 16-17 July 1997 and signed on 2 October 1997, entered into force on 1 May 1999.
3 The Treaty on the European Union, published in OJEU, C 326/13 of 26.10.2012 consolidated version.
4 The Chart of the Fundamental Right of the European Union, OJEU, 2012/C 326/02.
5 The European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, amended by Protocols no. 3, 5 and
8 and supplemented by Protocol no. 2, concluded at Rome on 4 November 1950, published in the Official Journal no. 135 of
31 May 1994.

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