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Preliminary report Esmée Driessen presented at Young VAR 2022

Esmée Driessen presented and defended her preliminary report ‘De dienstbare overheid bij het faciliteren van burgerinitiatieven’ (service-minded government and facilitating citizens’ initiatives) during the Young VAR (Young Administrative Law Association) on Friday 18 November.

The preliminary report considers the phenomenon of the ‘service-minded government’ in relation to citizens’ initiatives. It asks questions like why should a service-minded principle be part of the government-citizens’ initiative relationship? What about its set-up? And where can it be safeguarded? The reason for this approach is the fact that research shows that although governments want to support citizens' initiatives, in practice this is difficult to get off the ground. Time after time, both the government and the initiators find it difficult to realise or support a concrete citizens' initiative. In this regard, citizens’ initiatives indicate that one of the things they experience is a great deal of hindrance in their contact with the government. As a solution to this bottleneck, the preliminary report explores including a service-minded principle on the basis of which concrete perspectives for action can be developed.

Young VAR is one of the regular activities organised annually by the Administrative Law Association (VAR) and was held this year at law firm Stibbe. During the Young VAR, junior administrative law lawyers have the opportunity to write a preliminary report within an overarching theme and using their own expertise. This year's theme was 'citizen participation and citizens' initiatives'. Other preliminary reports were presented by Dorien Bakker (RUG; financial participation), and Meike Pakkert and Jelmer Ypinga (Stibbe; participation and the Aarhus Convention). Esmée Driessen is a PhD candidate at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law and conducts research on citizens' initiatives.

Left to right: Dorien Bakker, Jelmer Ypinga, Meike Pakkert and Esmée Driessen
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