From Neo-Corporatism to associative democracy: civil society's long and narrow path in the European Union
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The existence at the European level of civil society organizations (CSOs), acknowledged nowadays as indispensable actors of both the integration process and the enlargement strategy of the European Union, has a long history. This article examines the European Union's initiatives towards CSOs, which could now be accepted as a policy on its own, and the development of this relation in terms of neo-corporatism and associative democracy models. This article reveals the transformation of this policy from the one that initially had aspects of neo-corporatist model only and thus included a limited group of CSOs, to one that involves aspects of associative democracy comprising a larger group of CSOs, following European Social Dialogue, Civil Dialogue and the recent enlargement strategy of the Union.