This special issue focuses on EuroPolis, a unique experiment in ‘deliberative democracy’ at the European level convened in Brussels soon before the 2009 European Parliamentary Elections. A European wide random sample of the 27 member countries at the time was gathered to deliberate about two key issues–climate change and immigration as well as its voting intentions. The articles in the special issue focus on this Deliberative Poll, both quantitatively and qualitatively to assess what it tells us about ambitious versions of a ‘European wide public sphere.’ Can the citizens of Europe deliberate together across all the barriers of language and nationality? Can there be a credible process of European wide ‘public will formation’ about substantive policy issues and about voting?
Keywords: European Parliament, direct democracy, quasi-experiment, public opinion