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Authors: Sellke, Piet
Renn, Ortwin
Cornelisse, Corinne
Title: European citizens' panels : final report of the external evaluation
Issue Date: 2007 Arbeitspapier
Series/Report no.: Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Risiko- und Nachhaltigkeitsforschung;7
ISBN: 978-3-938245-07-1
Abstract: Objectives of evaluation The European Citizens’ Panel (ECP) initiative was evaluated by a team of external specialists who were asked to assess whether ECP meets its self chosen goals and keeps up with the established standards of process evaluation outlined in the respective literature. The external evaluation focused on the quality of the process: What was successful, what needed improvement and how satisfied were the participants with the procedures of their involvement? The evaluation focused especially on the European component of the process. How was the evaluation performed? The external evaluation used different inter-related methods (see section 2 of the report) which enabled the researchers to validate results obtained with one method with results from another method (triangulation). The methods used for this evaluation included interviews with participants, European and regional organizers, facilitators and key-stakeholders, a standardized survey directed to all participants during and after the deliberations, systematic observations of the evaluation team made during the pan-European panel, the self-evaluation of the regional panels as well as an analysis of ECP’s website. Conclusions The evaluation of the European Citizens’ Panel confirmed that the main objectives of the project had been accomplished. Furthermore, the project demonstrated the feasibility of organising citizen participation at the European level and provided sufficient evidence that such a process can produce reliable, substantial and instructive results. Furthermore, the participants were overwhelmingly satisfied with their role and function in the process. They also stated that their interest in EU-policies did increase. External stakeholders have praised the process and its outcomes as well, although it is much too early to expect any policy changes or implementations of the recommendations. Early responses by policy makers suggest that they are willing to use the regional results in the respective areas while the European policy makers were more interested in the process itself and its feasibility for European policy formation in general. Given these positive impressions and impacts, there were also problems and deficits. Notwithstanding that the process was deliberately planned as a bottom-up approach, the process lacked clear leadership and an unambiguous distribution of authority. In addition, more efficient management procedures would have been advisable (i.e. in terms of smaller task forces). There were also minor problems with respect to fairness, transparency, and competence. These problems were never severe enough to compromise the process itself or the validity of its results. One should be careful, however, in the interpretation of the prioritized recommendations as their prioritization was developed by a voting procedure, which should and can not be taken as a representative view on the subject. Overall, the European Citizens’ Panel proved that it is possible to initiate a dialogue on a complex issue on the European level. The methodological and organizational experiences made within this process will certainly foster and encourage the further development of a European culture of participation.
Appears in Collections:10 Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften

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