Chapter 18 Multilevel governance and the role of civil society organizations in the European Union system
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Civil society organizations (CSOs) are important actors in the European Union’s multilevel governance system. This chapter analyses CSOs’ multilevel governance actions in relation to their advocacy and service delivery activities, including triangulation between civil society groups in member states and the EU level and engagement in multiple forms of political mobilization. The chapter argues that each of these activities characterizes a particular type of governance relation and that these relations serve to legitimate and popularize EU integration. But political opportunities open to CSOs have radically changed due to the success of populist parties and right-wing movements in several member states and at the EU level. The chapter uses a body of texts from a subset of EU-level CSOs active in anti-discrimination and human rights issues as illustrations to explore how CSOs active at the EU level conceptualize issues such as governance, advocacy activities, and service delivery functions in this context.

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