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The government’s mentality hinders citizens' initiatives

The manner and context in which the government supports citizens' initiatives are often more important than the legal framework. In practice, it only creates unnecessary division and there are no solid grounds for it. Esmée Driessen, PhD candidate at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law and a specialist in citizen participation, drew this conclusion in her thesis.

In online weekly magazine Binnenlands Bestuur, Driessen gives a useful sneak preview of her thesis, which she is due to defend on 18 June in Leiden.

Citizens are increasingly taking initiatives to improve their immediate living environment. While civil servants and initiators share the same goal, it has proven difficult to implement in practice due to knowledge asymmetry. One common obstacle is that ‘the law’ hinders initiators and governments when it comes to the implementation. But there is often an effective solution to these problems, says Driessen in Binnenlands Bestuur.

In her thesis, Driessen focuses on a number of fields of law that the government and initiators believe to be restrictive. She investigates the relevant obstacles and formulates recommendations that may help governments and initiators.

More information

Read the full article in Binnenlands Bestuur (in Dutch)

Access the published version of Esmée Driessen's thesis (in Dutch)

Photo: Anaud Jaegers through Unsplash

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