The paper refers to the social innovation of participatory budgeting which has become a very popular tool for stimulating citizen participation at the local level in Poland. It focuses on the major cities, defined as capitals of the voivodeships or regions. Based on the data concerning 2018 participatory budgeting editions in the eighteen cities, it describes the funding, organisation of the process, forms of voting and voter participation as well as the nature of projects selected and implemented. According to the amended Act on the Local Self-Government, organisation of participatory budgeting will only be obligatory for Polish cities from 2019. Despite that fact, it has already become quite popular and broadly applied in local communities. However, citizens’ participation and involvement in the process seems quite low, suggesting a need for experience sharing and improvement of the initiative. Also, project selection reflects the influence of various social groups within urban communities, rather than assisting groups which are at risk of marginalisation.
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This article addresses the Council presidency trio mechanism codified in the Lisbon Treaty with a particular focus on the continuity question in the Council's decision-making framework. The aim of the article is to explore the effect of the formalised trio programme on continuity in the Council's decision-making process. To this end, the article looks at how the trio mechanism has evolved over time and how it functions in practice.
While some analysts have been sceptical about the usefulness of the trio programme, these findings demonstrate that the launch of this institutional tool has improved the continuity in the Council's decision-making process. The positive effect on continuity results from three main factors-the trio programme as a formal tool in the Council's institutional tool-kit; the existence of political will among the presidencies to cooperate; and, lastly, the guiding role of the Council Secretariat. The article presents evidence gathered by tracing the preparations of joint trio programmes from 2007 to 2012.
This article aims to examine whether there is continuity between eugenics as employed in Nazi Germany and modern-day medical genetics. Drawing on Foucault’s conceptualization of the relationship between power and knowledge, it draws the conclusion that despite the differences in the means employed and underlying motivations, both may serve as disciplinary tools and shape human behaviour. Finally, it addresses ethical issues that arise during genetic reproduction counselling. Namely, it reviews how genetic information during genetic reproduction counselling is presented to those being counselled and puts forward the idea on how to stay committed to the principle of non-directiveness.
The conceptual and methodological tools of Identity Structure Analysis (ISA) are applied to a particular instance of an individual at variance with dominant societal norms in order to demonstrate the efficacy of ISA for elucidating complex identity processes in socio-historical and biographical context. The empirical results presented in this article indicate that the interrelationship between societal constraints and individual values and beliefs are shown to be effectively detailed using ISA.
This study focuses on the relation between the Committee of the Regions (CoR), an advisory institution of the European Union defined as the political assembly of holders of a regional or local electoral mandate serving the cause of European integration, and the democratic deficit, understood as the effective ways of citizens’ participation in the institutional decision making. The work hypothesis is that the CoR, in spite of being mostly unknown to citizens, could be an effective tool for tackling the democratic deficit. Through qualitative interviews and surveys at different levels, the article analyzes the current situation and the potential opportunities of the CoR in its relation with citizens.
Against the context of the evolution of the European Union's association agreements as transformative tools beyond the organizational boundaries, this article seeks to develop an account for understanding legislative and regulatory approximation mechanisms as the essential elements for the exercise of the Union's normative and regulatory impact. It therefore distinguishes between both concepts and provides a legal and political science explorations of what the legislative and regulatory approximations are, and what are their substantial rationale and procedural features in the context of ‘gradualist’ convergence approach enshrined in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Parliamentary questions are a direct form of parliamentary scrutiny of other EU institutions and bodies, traditionally being an important tool for the opposition. This study examines how parliamentary questions are used in the European Parliament. We ascertain whether political groups representing opposition differ in their use of parliamentary questions from those who are represented in the European Commission. The article presents two main findings. First, such a difference does exist in all types of questions at the aggregated level. Groups not represented in the European Commission pose more questions than those who are represented. Secondly, it appears that the type of parliamentary question determines the groups’ behaviour. The article thus contributes to our understanding of how opposition functions in the European Parliament.
Debates about the democratic legitimacy of the European Union (EU) have been prevalent amongst scholars since its beginning. Students have analysed the legitimacy of the EU in terms of various normative criteria. But how is the EU legitimated in individual Member States and more so in an economic and sovereignty crisis when loyalties are particularly tested? The current study sheds light on it, scrutinising the conceptions associated with the EU in a country case of Estonia. Discourse analysis is used as a methodological tool to analyse the political discourse in printed media. The results indicate that the legitimation of the EU is derived from its output-oriented strategies, seeing the EU largely in instrumental terms.