Civil Society and the EU

The Case of Research Policy




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Thesis Abstract
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M.A. Thesis

Mag. Daniel Spichtinger (Euromasters, University of Bath, 2002 )

Civil Society and the EU. 

An Analysis Focusing on the Interactions between the Commission and Civil Society Organisations, with Particular Emphasis on Research Policy.


This thesis takes a multidisciplinary look at the concept of civil society and its application at the EU level, focusing in particular on the interactions between civil society organisations and the Commission.

In the first chapter it will be analysed how various schools of thought conceptualise the relationship between civil society, the state and the economic sector. In this regard I will distinguish between broad and inclusive and narrow and exclusive theories of civil society.

Secondly, it will be established that a broad conception of civil society is used at the EU level. We will then look at how civil society interacts with the Commission, what the dangers of civil society involvement are and whether economic actors can be said to be dominant. Another issue will be whether a truly European civil society exists.

After some intermediary conclusions I will single out research policy as a case study of civil society involvement. Using both secondary sources and empirical means I will arrive at the conclusion that business and science actors still dominate networks in R&D policy. While the participation of civil society is presently rather limited, the Commission has started several initiatives to support the inclusion of civil society organisations in research policy.

Finally, we will arrive at some policy recommendations derived from both the general analysis and the case study.


Download the study here (online version, pdf, 978KB)

Download my article Civil Society Interaction with the Commission in EU Research Policy (2003), an update and a summary of my research.

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About Euromasters

Euromasters (MA in Contemporary European Studies) is a postgraduate programme offered jointly by serveral universities across Europe and the US (coordinated by the university of Bath). It offers a broad comparative understanding of European or EU-US politics, policy and social evolution as well as specialist knowledge of key issues in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Altough the University of Bath is comparatively young it is already ranked among the top five British universites by the London Times. In a recent external subject review of politics and economics the departement recieved the highest possible score (24 out of 24).

The two markers agreed on A- as the mark for my M.A. thesis.

For further information see the Euromasters Webpage

Supporting Material

Latest Developments

10/08 2003 Article Civil Society Interaction with the Commission in EU Research Policy available under "download"

12/06-13/06 2003 Conference “Governance of the European Research Area: The Role of Civil Society”  (Brussels)
Click here for more information.

06/06 2003 review and update of website

Online Documents 



About me


Daniel Spichtinger

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