You4EU – Citizen participation 2.0

Institute Alternative with the support of “Europe for Citizens” Programme of the European Union implements the project “YOU4EU – Citizen Participation 2.0”. The aim of the project is to encourage citizens in Europe to take part in decision and policy – making processes.

Citizen participation in decision and policy – making processes is one of the main pillars of democracy and democratic culture in societies where citizens have power to be agents of change and have right to take part in debates about problems that occur in societies and take decisions on policies of public interest.

Thus, this project is designed to motivate citizens to participate in dialogues with stakeholders at both EU and national level. The project is following up the positive momentum of revived debate over the future of the EU initialised in 2017 and important events, such as Brexit, 2019 European Parliament elections and published Strategy for credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans countries. The Project activities will help citizens to grasp ideas and think about possible scenarios of the EU future presented in the European Commission’s White paper on the future of Europe. Facilitation of direct contacts between citizens and decision makers that will take place during this Project will also encourage citizens to express their own concerns over particular problems and define the issues which should enrich, shape and strengthen the EU agenda in the upcoming period. Together with this the project activities will provide the opportunity to citizens to challenge and discuss presented EU agendas and articulate criticism over the concrete EU activities and results.

Given that the two organisations that participate in the project come from EU candidate countries, while two come from EU member states, an important aspect of this project is the exchange of experiences between EU citizens and citizens of Europe who has the potential to results in constructive action to strengthen social and political cohesion on the European continent.

The project will use and support the enhancement of new media and new channels of communication in order to raise interest and include young people in above mentioned processes.

An additional contribution will also be given to the research that the project partners will implement in 4 partner countries and involve more than 300 citizens. The aim of the research is to examine the available channels of communication between citizens and public authorities, as well as to provide recommendations for more active citizen participation in debates concerning the future of Europe. This research will be conducted in three phases:

–  The first phase involves the collection of citizens’ questions through social networks, existing and new online platforms. Citizens will have the opportunity to ask the public officials about the future of Europe, and the researchers will do their best to come up with an answer. Participants or moderators will include candidates for the European Parliament in the 2019 elections, representatives of states in the EU, and members of the negotiating teams of the candidate countries. Topics covered by these debates concern current issues – EU enlargement, Brexit, the state of four freedoms, European Parliament elections, European citizenship, and more.
– Based on the issues raised in the first phase, the second will create a questionnaire for decision-makers in both EU Member States and candidate countries.
– The final phase of this research involves the writing of an analytical study composed of 50 key issues for the future of Europe, which will be presented to decision makers at the EU level.

The project’s priorities are to encourage citizens to engage in active dialogue on the future of Europe and to review mechanisms to counter the rising Euro-skepticism in, and outside the European Union.

General aim of the project is to shift the position of European citizens from passive actors to agents of change.

Specific aims of the project are to:

  • Shift position of European citizens from passive actors to agents of change, empowered and encouraged for democratic and civic participation at the Union level;
  • Develop understanding of citizens’ role and possible impact in the EU policy making process;
  • Enrich civic debate and e-participation of citizens on key developmental policies of the EU;
  • Enable exchange of experience between EU Member and Candidate Countries.

The project consists of interrelated set of activities which enable: a) direct contacts between citizens and decision makers for discussing contemporary challenges and perspectives of EU policies from citizens’ point of view; b) Europe-wide research on the citizens opinion over the future EU agenda; c) transnational multi-stakeholder debates on how to use concrete EU achievements and benefits in order to reinforce the EU’s social and political cohesion, and d) development of innovative instruments for direct participation in decision making for citizens by citizens.

Expected results:

  • European citizens empowered and motivated to lead debates;
  • Developed recommendations for improvement of particular aspects of EU policies;
  • Broadened potential impact of individual initiatives;
  • Increased pull of knowledge, know-how and good practice for combating Euroscepticism.

Project activities are going to be implemented in four phases:

1. The initial phase includes the development of the flow of project activities and the establishment of work methodologies, the distribution of activities between partners and the determination of administrative rules.
2. The research phase involves collecting citizens’ questions through social networks, creating questionnaires and a policy study that will cover the 50 most frequently asked questions and the most important issues of citizens.

3. The participation phase present the organisation of online competition at the European level, in which participants will be able to propose an innovative tool that will in some way contribute to the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes and discussions on the future of the European Union.

4. The last phase – the debate phase refers to the organization of four debates in Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, and one in Brussels, where the results and contributions of the project will be presented.

Four partners are included in project implementation: Institute Alternative, Belgrade Open School from Serbia as a leadership partner of the project, GONG from Croatia and PiNA from Slovenia. Project will directly include between 700 and 800 participants. Indirectly, around 370.000 citizens will be included and informed about the results of the project.

The Project is going to be implemented during the period of 18 months, from 1st of September 2018 until 29th of February 2020.

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