On the Ground at the Florence Citizens’ Panel: a podcast series

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On 10-12 December 2021, a group of 200 randomly selected citizens met at the EUI in Florence to discuss ‘democracy, rights, rule of law and security’ as part of a Citizens’ Panel within the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE). During the event, members of the Young EUI Democracy Forum were on the ground, speaking with citizens (both involved or uninvolved) as well as experts and politicians about their experience of the Panel and of the Conference. This podcast series, the fruit of those discussions, aims to give a voice to individual participants and to critically assess some of the organizational and substantive gaps that may prevent the CoFoE from becoming the democratic exercise that the EU so profoundly needs.

Episode one: Embracing renewal or stifling change? Lessons and anecdotes from the CoFoE

For the first episode of this podcast series Andrea Gaiba, MA student at the School of Transnational Governance (EUI) and Giulia Torri, MA student at Bocconi University, took up the microphone, walked up to Badia Fiesolana in Florence and had some insightful conversations with the citizens randomly selected to participate in the CoFoE Panel II, Session III. Were the first meetings a success and what are the individual perspectives on this complex and challenging transnational, democratic exchange?

Episode two: Error 404 at the CoFoE

This episode, hosted by Zakaria Al Shmaly, MA student at the School of Transnational Governance (EUI), discusses reflections by a randomly-selected citizen who first thought the Conference was a scam, but who ended up discussing the process in his country’s capital. Was the Conference a scam (literally and figuratively)? Was it representative of Europe? And what does it mean to be heard by the EU? This episode, along with a follow-up instalment from the Latvian city of Riga, is available on Spotify.

Episode three: The perks and perils of using digital tools in citizen participation

During the Florence Panel, Nils Busekros and Johannes Roth, both MA exchange students from the Hertie School in Berlin, took the opportunity to discuss the implications of COVID-19 on the deliberative process with the participants of the CoFoE. Did the digital tools deployed facilitate or disrupt a constructive exchange? Will the Conference succeed in increasing citizens’ participation and deliberation at a transnational level?

For more updates from the Young EUI Democracy Forum, check out their webpage.