"My hope is that this will be the beginning of a movement that will help to revitalise democracy in all of Europe. I promise that the Commission will listen and learn."
European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallstr?m, October 2006
In the run-up to the 2009 Euro-elections, the European Citizens? Consultations 2009 (ECC 2009) will bring together randomly selected citizens from all 27 EU Member States to discuss key challenges facing the EU with each other, and then with policy-makers. ECC 2009 will focus on the issues currently of greatest concern to EU citizens, seeking to answer the question:
?What can the EU do to shape our economic and social future in a globalised world??
?Family and social welfare? were among the topics chosen by citizens for in-depth discussion at ECC 2007 and the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll shows that social and economic issues remain high on the public?s agenda. As the EU institutions begin work on a post-2010 successor to the Lisbon Agenda for economic growth and competitiveness, ECC 2009 will also provide timely and relevant input for decision-makers.
1,500 randomly selected citizens reflecting their country?s demographic composition will be drawn from all EU countries and will attend National Citizens? Consultations in March 2009. These identical conferences, held simultaneously on three weekends, are the heart of the ECC process enabling citizens to discuss issues of common concern with each other, and with key national policy-makers. A European Citizens? Summit with 150 representatives of the National Consultations will be held in Brussels on the 10th and 11th of May 2009 and will ensure that a truly European set of recommendations are presented to key EU decision-makers. Throughout the process, the general public will be able to participate in the discussions via national websites, giving an unprecedented number of citizens the opportunity to get involved in the debate on Europe?s future. The citizens? recommendations will also be discussed with many more stakeholders, decision-makers and civil society at regional events in autumn 2009.
ECC 2009 is the only Europe-wide debate to be held on Europe?s future. A unique consortium of more than forty independent European partners including foundations, NGOs, universities and think-tanks will implement the ECC 2009.
The European Citizens' Consultations 2009 are about to begin: get involved! A comprehensive online debate amongst Europe's citizens will be the first phase of the European Citizens' Consultations 2009. Websites for all Member States, to be launched in December 2008... [more]
ECC 2009 is part of an ongoing process to further develop citizen participation and consultation mechanisms. It builds on the outstanding success of the ground-breaking ECC 2007, which established a new model for citizen participation. As the largest project within the European Commission?s "Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate" and the first-ever pan-European citizen debate, ECC 2007 broke down the barriers of geography and language to enable 1,800 randomly selected citizens from all 27 Member States to debate the future of Europe.
At the Agenda Setting Event, held in Brussels in October 2006, 150 citizens from the then 25 Member States selected the topics important to them and which would be debated over the months to come at the 27 National Consultations. The combination of modern technologies and in-depth deliberation enabled all citizens to make their voices heard at these events, held between February and March 2007. Ideas for the future of Europe were developed and summarised in 27 ?National Citizens? Perspectives on the Future of Europe?. These 27 national perspectives served as the basis for a European-level synthesis, drawn up at the Final Consultation event held in Brussels in May 2007. This step highlighted the common ground between national outcomes and ensured that divergences were not lost.
The ?European Citizens? Perspectives on the Future of Europe?, underlined the importance of a proactive social Europe, an effective management of immigration as well as the need for a common European response to the energy challenge. The European Citizens' Perspectives on the Future of Europe finalised in May 2007 are available here in Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Latvian, Slovenian and Spanish. The synthesis document was presented to high-level representatives of the EU institutions together with a video documentation of the project, including citizens' feedback.
Take a look at the ECC 2007 video with impressions from all the events for more information about how the European Citizens' Consultations work.
For more in-depth information on the European Citizens? Consultations 2007, please see the Past European Citizens' Consultations section of the website