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opinions and critiques but also present policy proposals. The former focused on
the taxation system, the construction industry, and the welfare system (it is not by
chance that all these topics are closely linked with the professional background of
the participants); the latter were almost entirely dedicated to the excessive amount
of red tape. The BDT had a specific goal: to translate the most noteworthy ideas
into law (which actually happened with two decree-laws approved in 2012: Decree-
Law n. 5/2012, named Semplifica Italia , and Decree Law n. 179/2012, named Italia
In October 2013, the Italian government launched a second consultation, linked
with BDT, entirely dedicated to the top 100 administrative procedures that, accord-
ing to those who would take parte into it, had to be given priority in the upcom-
ing agenda of administrative simplification. A total of 1953 participants—1428
citizens, mostly professionals in the business sector and civil servants, aged 35-54,
and 525 business enterprises, typically (60%) of small or medium size—indicated
which administrative burdens were perceived as the most troublesome. Participants
pinpointed the Internal Revenue Service, the construction sector, the health care
system, and the labor market as the top priorities to be simplified.
Also a remarkable example from the recent past is Linea Amica (Friend Line).
Described as “the front office of the Italian public administrations,” Linea Amica
was created in 2009 as a spin-off of FormezPA (the Centre for Services, Assistance,
Studies and Training for the Modernization of the Public Administration). During
4 years of activity, almost 1.5 million citizens addressed Linea Amica to ask for
information on public services. Men (48.3%) and women (51.7%), primarily aged
30-60 (74.4%), from Central (30%), Northern (20%), and Southern (15%) regions
have contacted Linea Amica . The large majority used the telephone (84%). Still,
an increasing number of citizens contacted the service through the web (12.8%).
According to the official information released by Formez (2013), since 2009, more
than 5 million citizens have visited the Linea Amica website.
4.4.1 Dialogue with Citizens: The Startup Phase
A noteworthy example of online participatory experiments is the Dialogo con il
Cittadino , literally “Dialogue with Citizens,” introduced by the government led by
Mario Monti in early 2012.
The Dialogue was developed for two main reasons. The first involved the search
for legitimacy. The government was in urgent need to be perceived as account-
able and “democratic” by civil society. The creation of a new web-based channel
of participation offered a viable solution to rapidly increase the democratic legiti-
macy and accountability of the governmental action. In that sense, the government
drew inspiration from the European Commission's efforts to promote citizens'
participation to address the critiques about its legitimacy and democratic stance.
To this extent, the deliberative opinion poll “Tomorrow's Europe” (which polled
3600 European citizens about the future of Europe), the European Citizen's