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Guest Post by Dan Luca
When it comes to involve and engage citizens in the decision-making process on a European level, there is confusion about terminology.
Some see “asking the interested citizens what they prefer” as active public participation. It is not: “asking the interested citizen” falls under consultation. Consultation is a top-down professional or bureaucrat-led process. At best, consultation produces choices from which the selected consultants can choose. Worst case scenario: community preferences are ignored, because they do not fit some preconceived model of “what the public needs”, designed in the minds of bureaucrats, politicians and professionals.
Participation is a process of setting up structures, within which professionals or bureaucrats become facilitators of a broad-based deliberative process. Participation is more difficult and time-consuming than consultation. It requires the leaders of the process to have the commitment to public participation and at the same time also the techniques to enact it. It requires […]

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