Flash Eurobarometer „Europeans’ Engagement in Participatory Democracy”,EESC

Flash Eurobarometer: Citizens engaged in

participatory democracy

Still some way to go for citizens to become engaged in European public debates


While Europe faces economic and social challenges, EU citizens continue to involve themselves in participatory democracy activities, including signing petitions and becoming active members of non-governmental organisations, mainly at local and national level. A Flash Eurobarometer measuring citizens’ engagement shows that Europeans trust civil society organisations to influence policies and make a difference in the life of their communities.


The survey was commissioned by the European Commission in response to a request from the EESC.


Even against the backdrop of the crisis, with growing unemployment and austerity in most parts of Europe, the Flash Eurobarometer shows that people are involved in and/or trust their community organisations. Relatively few people are, on average, members of civil society organisations. Yet the survey shows that there is a high-level of trust towards civil society among Europeans, who are confident that non-governmental organisations can play a political role and influence policies. However, civil society organisations are regarded in the survey as more likely to influence decision-making at local and national level (75% and 70% respectively) than at the level of the EU (53%).


Key findings – (showing an average of EU 27 – figures will of course vary from country to country)

  • A majority (59%) of people think non-governmental organisations share their interests and values.
  • A majority of respondents (54%) think that voting in EU elections or joining an NGO can influence political decision-making and even more respondents (7 out of 10) think that voting in local or national elections is an effective way to influence political decisions.
  • A third (34%) of respondents say that they have signed a petition in the last two years.
  • 24% have conveyed their views on public issues to an elected representative at local/regional level, 10% at national level and 4% at EU level.


The full report is available here.

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