Leston-Bandeira (2012) - The pursuit of legitimacy as a key driver for public Engagement

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Leston-Bandeira, Cristina (2012). The pursuit of legitimacy as a key driver for public engagement: The European Parliament Case. In: Parliamentary Affairs, 67(2), pp. 415-436.


  • meta-perspective: strategies, agendas and motives of political elites for moving forward public engagement


  • elite interviews


This article analyses the decision-making process the European Parliament has put into place to meet the public engagement agenda, especially considering the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. One of the main questions to be answered is how public engagement can be influences through internet activity by parliaments. The case study is based on 55 in-depth elite interviews undertaken with representatives and senior parliamentary officials in the EP, as well as documentary and website analysis. The outcome shows that public engagement has become a high priority not only for the EP but also for parliaments in Europe in general. With the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the public engagement agenda became a key driver for strategic planning in the EP and several online activities, like the EP’s Facebook page, were implemented to support public engagement. Although there has been an increase in transparency of the work in the EP, only specific dimensions of the parliaments work have been made public. Therefore it is still unclear if the public engagement agenda has had any impact on the public’s perception and understanding of the EP.