Local Councillors and Citizens. An exploratory study of the interaction between councillors and citizens in 4 municipalities in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion

  • Klaartje Peters FASOS
  • Yannic Bellino FASOS
  • Sander Van Berghen
  • Sebastian Franzkowiak
  • Elisabeth Krumm
  • Arne Langlet
  • Richard Marenbach
  • Helena Wejmelka
Keywords: Local democracy, Local councillors, Local politics, Councillors, Citizens, Representation, Input, Output

Abstract

The aim of this study is to look into into role behaviour of local councillors and their relation with citizens in their municipality. As little is known about the actual interaction between councillors and citizens in local government the nature of the study is mainly explorative. The research focuses on councillors in 4 different municipalities in the 3 countries of the Meuse-Rhine Euregion: Valkenburg (Netherlands), Riemst (Belgium-Flanders), Visé (Belgium-Wallonia) and Übach-Palenberg (Germany). The study reveals that there are many similarities between the councillors in the different countries. All councillors receive input from citizens, always about specific and often even individual issues of citizens, and surprisingly they leave the initiative mostly to the citizens, instead of actively looking for input. We also found significant differences. We noticed different patterns of contacts between citizens and councillors in the municipalities and it seems that input by citizens is valued differently on the different sides of the border. Several questions for further research were identified. 

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Published
2016-04-11