The Democratic Society and European Policy Centre recently published a report evaluating the European Citizens’ Consultations process.
The report includes contributions from members of the European Citizens’ Consultations Civil Society Network that was established in March 2018 to monitor the process and make recommendations for future pan-European consultation processes.
“Rethinking the manner in which we do democracy and finding 21st century appropriate ways to translate our democratic goals into practice is likely to be a long and hard struggle. But it has to begin somewhere, and the ECCs are a good place to start.”
The European Citizens’ Consultations (ECCs) were a project aiming to improve the quality of democracy at the EU level. They were formed of two strands:
- An online survey on the Future of Europe, hosted by the European Commission and available in all EU languages. The questions in the survey were created by a Citizens’ Panel hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in May 2018 (an evaluation report of the panel authored by Bertelsmann Stiftung can be found here).
- A series of national consultation events, organised by respective national governments across 27 member states of the EU. A joint report summarising the outputs of the processes can be found here (Council of the European Union, 2018).
Our evaluation report presents the results of the research and analysis carried out by the Network over the past seven months, as well as a number of recommendations for how to capitalise on the current round of ECCs and how to improve the way they could be executed in the future.
Three major themes became clear in the reports recommendations:
- Communication is key. There needs to be greater clarity around projects of this nature, both in the process and the aims and outcomes. There needs to be strong advertisement of the process as it cannot fulfill its potential if there is low public awareness.
- There must be a balance between focusing on national issues and EU level issues, to properly inform and engage citizens.
- It’s important to follow up on the process. Suggestions included pushing for public synthesis of results and an additional Citizens’ Panel to properly complete the process.
We intend to continue conversations about the learning from the European Citizens’ Consultations in 2019 and to use this experience as a starting point for further discussion about increasing citizen participation, and encouraging a culture of openness in and around the European institutions and at the national level in member states.
Find the full report, executive summary and infographics here: http://www.epc.eu/pub_details.php?cat_id=1&pub_id=8839
Read more about Demsoc’s involvement in this project here: https://www.demsoc.org/projects/ecc/
If you have any questions or want more information about this report, please contact Beth Wiltshire (European Programmes Officer) at firstname.lastname@example.org