This article aims to bring deliberative democracy back into the study of interest representation, by looking at consultation formats in the policy preparation and in the policy implementation stages of the EU Integrated Product Policy (IPP). IPP is a perfect example of the switch from government to governance in EU environmental policy-making. IPP is based on a Commission Communication and it is implemented exclusively via soft instruments, with strong stakeholders involvement across the policy cycle. All the consultation exercises are investigated through a deliberative lens, based on four criteria: openness and equality of participation; transparency; argumentative communication and binding nature of decisions. The analysis shows that, despite a good steering provided by the Commission, the multiplicity of consultation formats failed to deliver, due to a lack of binding decisions being taken. Thus, extensive and almost-deliberative consultations ultimately lead to limited results and to stakeholders disenchantment with the process. This raises bigger question on the role of both stakeholders and public authorities in multilevel environmental governance.
Keywords: Integrated Product Policy, Stakeholders, European Union, Environmental Policy, Deliberative Democracy