Whatever it takes? Ten principles to bring the Conference on the Future of Europe closer to its citizens

Recently, the need for citizen participation and involvement in EU decision-making has been felt more than ever. While some experiments, such as the European Convention of 2003, have prompted some positive outcomes for citizen engagement, it is only now that the recent deliberative wave in Europe and beyond is taking high effect. Drawing on the […]

The Democratic Panopticon

Harnessing our collective power and intelligence to create a culture of digitally enhanced citizen participation across borders. At the end of the 18th century, the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was obsessed with the idea of a perfect prison, which he called the panopticon. In his countless drawings of circular cells arranged concentrically around a tower, […]

Seven lessons on citizen participation for CoFoE

What can the EU Convention and the French Climate Convention tell us about how to develop successful models for deliberative democracy? Experiments with deliberative assemblies – whether successful or otherwise – offer valuable learning experiences for all involved with the incipient ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’ (CoFoE). Among recent examples, the ‘European Convention’ of […]

On European Citizens’ Initiatives and Trains

On 1 April nine years ago, the European citizens’ initiative left the station of democratic innovation design and began its mission of bringing the EU and its citizens closer. To take stock of the nine-year-long journey of the European Citizens’ Initiative as it embarks on its future, I want to write to you about – […]

The European Citizens Initiative is now at a crossroads – The Member States can show which path to follow in the future.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the first and, up to now, only instrument of transnational, participatory and digital democracy in the world and has its origins in the Constitutional Convention in 2002-03. When the ECI entered into force in 2012, civil society organisations across Europe have highly welcomed this new right which confers citizens […]

10 years since the adoption of the first ECI regulation: cause for celebration or concern?

10 years since the adoption of the first ECI regulation: cause for celebration or concern? European citizens and organised civil society have so far played the central role in making the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) fit for purpose; now the European institutions need to join them and step up their game. As the European Citizens’ Initiative […]

Will the new COFOE digital platform live up to its promise? From Barcelona to Brussels and back

Today, on 19 April, the long-awaited Digital Platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFOE) will be unveiled. This ought to give EU citizens, civil society and the political establishment some time to familiarise themselves with this cornerstone experiment in ‘virtual transnational democracy’ ahead of the formal launch of the Conference in Strasbourg […]