EQUAL DIGNITY FOR PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY

EUMANS IS COMMITTED TO GUARANTEE EUROPEAN CITIZENS A FAIR AND ADEQUATE INFORMATION ON BOTTOM-UP DEMOCRACY IN THE EU - KEY MILESTONES OF THE INITIATIVE

MARCO CAPPATO

Eumans is committed to guarantee European Citizens a fair and adequate information on bottom-up democracy in the European Union.

On this page you can find the actions that we have undertakens so far: 

- December 2019: Open Letter to Commissioner Jourova 
- February 2020: Open Letter to Commisioner Šuica 
- July 2020: Feedback on the Roadmap for the "Democracy Action Plan" (official submission by Eumans to the Democracy Action Plan
 

  • JULY 2020 - FEEDBACK TO THE DEMOCRACY ACTION PLAN ROADMAMP: CONCRETE PROPOSALS FOR EQUAL DIGNITY FOR PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY"**

First of all, we welcome European Commission’s efforts to strengthen European Democracy and protect it from interference and manipulation by tackling disinformation and safeguarding media freedom and pluralism. In particular, we welcome the focus on the promotion of democratic resilience and citizens participation to improve election integrity, as well as the attention paid to the role of civil society in stimulating public debate and citizen engagement.

However, a “Democracy Action Plan” should be build looking at all the components of the rights of participation and political rights of European Citizens. “Representative democracy” and “Participatory Democracy” shouldn’t be intended as two isolated components of the EU democratic project. Therefore, we believe that the Democracy Action Plan should include  efforts to strengthen Participatory Democracy in the EU in order to improve the overall quality of our European Democracy, citizen participation and public debates between each round of  of European elections and during each Parliamentary term

For elections to be held in the most democratic and proper way, and for the democratic system to be truly democratic, it is of utmost importance that citizens take informed decisions and that they are able to actively participate in the decision-making process by shaping the agenda. Therefore, it is essential to invest resources to raise voters’ awareness of what is at stake in such occasions, and to help citizens understand which are the practical consequences on their lives. In this context, we welcome European institutions’ efforts to raise awareness on the 2019 elections through the deployment of large sums for the “This time I’m voting” campaign (roughly 30M euros). 

However, we believe that Participatory Democracy should be granted the same dignity as Representative Democracy. Proposals and policies developed within the European civil society, the academic community, and through the cooperation between different European networks and organisations can bring an essential contribution to the work of the European Commission and the European Parliament.

We are aware of the investments in the European Citizens’ Initiative tool promotion. However, the level of attention is not the same as for elections. The result is that only a tiny minority is familiar with such tools.

Therefore, we encourage the European Commission to allocate the same resources to inform European citizens on their political rights concerning formal Participatory Democracy instruments, namely European Citizens’ Initiatives and petitions to the European Parliament. We suggest three main instruments:

1) Increasing the budget of the “Europe for citizens” program by approximately 30M euros.
2) European institutions should invite all EU public and private broadcasters, as well as digital media outlets, to increase the coverage on participatory democracy tools and proposals, starting from European Citizens’ Initiatives.

3) In order to make sure every and each citizen is well aware and informed of democratic processes, both electoral and participatory ones, we encourage the European Commission to strengthen the “Europe direct” info points by increasing their number up to 600, by allowing them to collect signatures for ECIs and petitions to the EP, and by establishing partnerships with local institutions in order to make sure citizens are provided with minimum standard quality information both on on participatory and electoral processes. 

4)  In order to make sure every and each citizen is well aware and informed of democratic processes, we encourage European institutions to include citizens’ initiatives within the ordinary framework of institutional communication, as well as to grant every EU citizen (from 16 years old) with informative pamphlets and direct mailing containing actual, timely, effective information concerning ongoing ECIs as well as active petitions to the European Parliament. Widespread paper mailing has to be set-up for the purpose. E-mailing may be used where a citizen confirmed email address is recorded by the Commission. In order to gather EU Citizens email addresses, the EU Commission may:

- set-up a EU Citizens Register, collecting EU member states data (where available) 

- develop/upgrading the Citizens Register by an ad hoc digital “register here” campaign.

**This proposal had been elaborated by Eumans activists and other promoters of European Citizens Initiatives and submitted on the 27th of July 2020 as an official feedback to the Consultation launched by Commissioner Jourova on the "Democracy Action Plan".

The set of proposals included in the document had been discussed during the 4th Meeting of the Council on Participatory Democracy - "Knowledge is Civic Power" - You can watch the full discussion here. 



 

  • DECEMBER 2019 - OPEN LETTER TO COMMISSIONE JOUROVA AND COMMISSIONER ŠUICA "EQUAL DIGNITY FOR PARTICIPATORY DEMCORACY"


The letter was sent on December 2019 to Vice President Commissioner Vera Jourova, who is responsible for Europan Values and Transparency 
A similar letter was handed over during ECI Day 2020 in Bruxelles to the Vice President Dubravka Šuica, who is responsible for democracy and demography. 


Dear Commissioner JOUROVÁ,

The European Union – rightfully! – recognizes providing information to citizens on European elections as a public service. It is essential to invest resources to raise voters’ awareness of what is at stake in such occasions. And it is even more important to help citizens understand which are the practical consequences on their lives.

In addition to this, the major part of the media coverage focuses on elected representatives and partisan politics.
Participatory democracy tools don't receive the same attention.

We are aware of the investments in the European Citizens Initiative tool promotion. However, the level of attention is not the same. The result, which is in the public eye, is that only a tiny minority is familiar with such tools.

There is a small number of European Citizens Initiative that achieved 1 million signatures.

Those "successful" initiatives achieved the result relying on existent networks of organisations. Or hiring firms with a massive mailing list. On the other end, there is not such a thing as a public information service on European Citizens Initiatives. Something that enables each EU citizen to choose whether to support an Initiative or not.

As European Citizens Initiative promoters we propose the European Commission to:
1) Level the budget currently invested in the European Citizens Initiatives to what is currently invested to inform citizens on elections and on the functioning of representative democracy;
2) Invite all EU public and private broadcasters, and digital media outlets to increase the coverage on participatory democracy tools and proposals, starting from European Citizens Initiatives.

We would like to meet you at a public meeting to discuss this further. 

Kind regards,

Marco Cappato, Representative "A price for carbon to fight climate change" stopglobalwarming.eu
Carlo Maresca, Coordinator, "A price for carbon to fight climate change" stopglobalwarming.eu
Virginia Fiume, Coordinator, "Respect for the rule of law in the European Union" formyrights.eu
Pier Virgilio Dastoli, Representative "Respect of the rule of law in the European Union" formyrights.eu
Joerg Mitzlaf, Representative “Central public online collection platform for the European Citizen Initiative” openpetition.eu
Marcin Dzierżak, Substitute “Central public online collection platform for the European Citizen Initiative” openpetition.eu
Veneta Magistrelli, Representative “Stop corruption in Europe at its root, by cutting off funds to countries with inefficient judiciary after deadline” stop-corruption.eu
Sebastian Reimer, Substitute “Stop Extremism” stop-extremism.eu
Timothée Galvaire, Representative “Ending the aviation fuel tax exemption in Europe” fairosene.eu
Thomas Eitzenberger, Representative “European Citizens Initiative Fridays for Future”
Glyn Hughes, European Passports for Everyone
Lavinia Scudiero, Grow Scientific Progress growscientificprogress.org

TO ADD YOUR SIGNATURE TO THE LETTER SEND AN EMAIL TO virginia.fiume@protonmail.com 

YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD THE OPEN LETTER HERE