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Civic participation. State Counsellor Gisela Erler, EU Workshop, 5.Dezember 2012. Dynamic involvement democracy. Between Habermas and Switzerland. Lobbies. Parties. Associations. New roles for everyone!!!. Experts/ consultants. Those affected directly. Citizens' initiatives.

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civic participation

Civic participation

State Counsellor Gisela Erler, EU Workshop, 5.Dezember 2012

dynamic involvement democracy between habermas and switzerland
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONDynamic involvement democracy.Between Habermas and Switzerland




New roles

for everyone!!!



Those affected directly

Citizens' initiatives

Active citizens, "voiceless" citizens, random citizens

scepticism reservations
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONScepticism/reservations
  • People do not have enough expert knowledge
  • Legitimation is lacking with civic participation
  • The people do not assume any responsibility
  • The institutions of representative democracy are weakened: no candidates!
  • False expectations are aroused and more frustration generated
why bother
  • Optimization of decisions
  • Acceptance increased, satisfaction enhanced
  • Lower disenchantment with politics
  • Strengthen interest in common good
  • People demand transparency, are willing to take part and want to have a part in decisions to some extent
  • Digital media are changing expectations and interaction
demand more direct democracy
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONDemand: More direct democracy

Municipality codes:

  • Lower quorums, extend deadlines for referendum
  • Include land use planning

State Constitution

  • Lower hurdles for signatures
  • Lower quorum from 33 % to x
civic participation direct democracy
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONCivic participation ≠ direct democracy
  • Early participation leads to fewer referendums/protest and easier implementation. But : it is no vote!
  • Binding rules for dealing with results needed
  • Establish participationin general state planning law and in special laws
  • Establish right to participation in all policy fieldsschool development, traffic planning, urban planning, health care provision( hospitals) etc. Energy : wind etc.
the state government lives participation
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONThe state government lives participation!
  • North Black Forest National Park
  • FilderDialog S 21
  • State Referendum S 21
  • Model project of “wisdom councils”
  • Alliance for Participation—with cooperation of major foundations
  • Public contest of “Staatsanzeiger” newspaper: 150 applications
participation web platform
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONParticipation web-platform
  • Three pillars
    • Information gained through participation
    • Commenting on draft bills in hearings procedure (obligatory)
    • Online consultation (optional)
guidelines for administrarion
CIVIC PARTICIPATIONGuidelines for administrarion:
  • Planning guideline (IFOK)
  • "Culture" guideline for state authorities (FüAk)
  • Plus: openingofspecific planning laws


Very Early participation mandatory binding nature- well founded answers to requests required

  • On-the-job/continuing eduction of civil servants
    • Expand curricula
    • Developing programmes of study
  • Continuing education in civil society
    • Projects at the state foundation, seat of state government, VHS (adult college), youth associations, unions, etc.
  • Research network:A network of research institutes on the topic of democracy and participation
  • Democracy monitoring:Regular, representative polls

Freedom of Information ActTransparency