Technology options and systems to strengthen participatory and direct democracy

ICT tools and social media significantly open up new ways for citizens to get involved in policy- and decision-making processes. But how can digital tools strengthen the connections between European citizens and the EU decision-making processes? Can they really contribute to reducing the EU democratic deficit and to allowing for more direct democracy?

Digital tools have already increasingly been used for citizen involvement in policy- and decision-making for many years. The spectrum is wide: it reaches from provision of political information via web portals, voter guides and campaign sites to online forums, electronic petitions, consultations and voting tools.

Which lessons can be drawn from experiences of the use of digital tools for EU decision-making procedures? It is the task of a European research collaboration to investigate this.


  • Systematic review of current literature on e-democracy, the EU governance system and the European public sphere
  • Analysis and evaluation of 24 currently existing digital tools
  • Analysis of the suitability of the most promising digital tools for implementation at EU level
  • Evaluation framework for the assessment of experiences with existing digital tools, informed by the literature review
  • Based on these steps, the project will provide recommendations with regard to the use of digital tools at EU level.

This project is carried out by ITA on behalf of Science and Technology Options Assessment at the European Parliament (STOA), in collaboration with the Rathenau Institute (coordinator), the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (ITAS-KIT), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), and the Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DBT).


06/2016 - 02/2017

Project team