Technology options and systems to strengthen participatory and direct democracy (STOA EDEM II)

CT 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 improved democratic processes?

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? The systematic investigation of these issues was the task of this European research collaboration.

Main elements of the research project included:

  • 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 provided recommendations with regard to the use of digital tools at EU level.

The project draws on the findings of the previous STOA project "E-public, e-participation, e-voting in Europe: Chances and limits of an Internet-enabled European democracy". Important findings of this project are summarized in the book publication "Electronic Democracy in Europe (2016).


02/2016 - 06/2017


  • STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment beim Europäischen Parlament)


  • Rathenau Institut (Koordinator), Niederlande
  • Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und System Analyse des Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (ITAS-KIT), Deutschland
  • Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DBT), Dänemark