"A quest for Citizenship in an ever closer Europe"
The Deliberative Citizens’ Consultation (DCC) experiment will be held in Turin in March, 24-25 2007. The Deliberative Citizens’ Consultation is supported by two different projects, both aiming at better understanding the conditions and setbacks of furthering participation in Europe and at the European level: the IntUne Project and the The European Citizens Consultation project The IntUne project is explicitly aimed at studying the evolution of citizenship in Europe integrating sound scientific comparative research methods. Among the methodologies the project will use to integrate basic and policy-research, the project has chosen Deliberative Polling®. The European Citizens Consultation projectwant to promote a pan-European debate involving citizens from all 27 Member States about the future of the European Union across the boundaries of geography and language. The project is funded and organised by an independent consortium of foundations and non-profit organisations from all over Europe and led by the King Baudouin Foundation and it is co-sponsored by the European Commission’s communication strategy “Plan D” (Democracy, Dialogue and Debate). The DCC will take place in Turin, in March 2007, and it will make possible to explore the nature and conditions of free exchange of ideas about European issues, at different levels.
The European Citizens’ Consultations are the first-ever pan-European debate involving citizens from all 27 Member States to discuss the future of the European Union across the boundaries of geography and language. Citizens exchange opinions, develop together their ideas on the future direction of Europe, and communicate their perspectives to policy-makers. Simultaneous and interlinked events across Europe allow every citizen to make his or her voice heard. The consultations and their follow-up aim at inspiring European as well as national institutions and decision-makers as they prepare to take decisions on the next phase of Europe’s development.
The European Citizens’ Consultations are composed of a series of events connected to each other in a carefully implemented overall process: the Agenda-Setting Event was the kick-off event, and it took place in Brussels on the 7th and 8th of October 2006. 200 citizens from all 25 Member States have discussed the overall question of “what Europe do we want?” and thereby set the agenda for the following debates at national level. In November 2006, two groups of 40 citizens meet in Berlin (Germany) and Budapest (Hungary) to assess which kind of information the participants of the national consultations require to lead a fruitful discussion. These are mostly internal events. From February to March 2007, 27 national consultations will take place at Member State level to discuss the overarching question “what is needed to achieve the Europe we want?”. Each consultation has four other consultations in other Member States happening at the same time. They exchange their results and enable a European dialogue across locations. The 27 national reports serve as the basis for a European-level synthesis during the Final Consultation in May 2007, highlighting the common ground and the areas of divergence between the national outcomes. A comprehensive follow-up process is kicked off, which actively communicates the outcomes to policy-makers and provides feedback to citizens.
This experiment is also seen as a useful preliminary step toward the implementation of a Europe-wide deliberative polling experiment, aimed at experiencing the problems involved in the creation of a “European public sphere.”
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