New round of the European Citizens' Consultations raise the profile of participation in Europe
In the run-up to the 2009 European elections, the European Citizens’ Consultations 2009 (ECC 2009) are giving citizens a voice in the debate over how to respond to the current economic and financial crisis by providing a platform for pan-European dialogue on the challenges facing the EU. The project builds on the ground-breaking ECC 2007 project, the largest of the Plan D projects, and will not only give citizens a voice in European policy, but will also seek to place participation at the heart of the new institutions.
In the first phase of the project, European citizens will take part in an online public debate via the online fora launched in each of the EU’s 27 Member States in December 2008. There they will generate and debate their ideas on what role the EU can play in shaping our economic and social future in a globalised world. These ideas are then fed into the national consultations, taking place in all 27 Member States, over three weekends in March 2009. A total of 1,600 citizens - chosen at random using professional opinion research institutes - will work to produce ten recommendations for action at EU level at each of the national events. All the participants will then be asked to vote on all the recommendations generated by these events to choose their top 15 recommendations.
Some 150 citizens who took part in the national events will then travel to Brussels for the European Citizens’ Summit on May 10-11 2009 to hand over and discuss these recommendations with top EU policy-makers, including the European Commission and Parliament Presidents and the EU Presidency.
As well as feeding into the debate over how to respond to the global economic crisis, ECC 2009 will also provide timely and relevant input for policy-makers as the EU institutions begin work on a post-2010 successor to the Lisbon Agenda. Additional regional outreach activities are also planned in the autumn, with a particular focus on the MEPs newly elected in June 2009, to ensure that the results of the consultations are disseminated and debated more widely.
ECC 2009 is part of an ongoing process to further develop citizen participation and consultation mechanisms. It builds on the success of ECC 2007, which established a new model for citizen participation through the first pan-European participatory project to involve citizens from all 27 Member States of the EU in the debate on the future of Europe.
For more information on the project, including how you can get involved and which partners are implementing the ECC in which countries, visit www.european-citizens-consultations.eu