|dc.description.abstract||The main aim of this study is to provide an insight to the European Union‟s attempt to find a remedy for the long-debated „democratic deficit‟, one of the major issues for the contemporary process of European integration. In the absence of other means for a direct relation with the citizens, as only the European Parliament is elected by all European citizens, the European Commission assumed its role of „guardian of the Treaties‟ and implemented a greater openness towards the civil society since the beginning of 2000s, in total compliance with the values of democracy in Europe.
However, as all public policies implemented by national governments have to undergo an analysis of their effectiveness, supra-national policies promoted by the EU institutions need a similar attention. In this context, my thesis should be regarded as an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the Commission‟s improved openness towards NGO representatives, while looking not only at the simple presence of those civic groups in public debates at the EU level, but most importantly how much influence do they really hold in the EU institutional environment (in my case, the Commission). Presence does never grant a priori influence.
This thesis will employ as research method the so-called „policy tracing‟, which enables a rather detailed focus on a very specific policy area. I will present to the available extent the context of two different Proposals for Directives and the process which determined the European Commission to formulate them, through dialogue with its social partners (especially the European NGOs). The results of my analysis show an unexpected superficiality of the Commission in listening to the civil society‟s inquiries and recommendations, keeping the Member States as the most influential entities in the process of agenda-setting at the European Commission. The Union‟s democratic deficit is still far from being cured.||sv