Why Eumans?

Why Eumans?

Democracy needs be grounded on direct interaction among citizens. European democracy will truly blossom when people of different nationalities start engaging directly - that is, dialoguing, sharing hopes, and even arguing - without the mediation of national parties and institutions. This is the raison d’être of Eumans, a pan-European movement for popular initiative. 

Today, the mechanisms of the European Union are based on a sort of ‘multinational democracy’. The sovereignty of the European citizens is intermediated by national elections leading to Governments, who then compose the Council of the European Union and appoint the Commission. Popular sovereignty is indeed exercised, but filtered on a national basis, as for the elections to the European Parliament

The ‘multinational’ method could be partially overcome with federalist institutional reforms, which include strengthening the power of the European Parliament and introducing transnational electoral lists, the direct election of the President of the European Commission, and the overcoming of the veto right in the European Council. However, this path alone is unrealistic and inadequate. ‘Unrealistic’, because European public opinion now mistrusts the EU, and any reform can be blocked by the veto of a single Member State. ‘Inadequate’, because democracy is a method as well as a set of values, and it is built from the bottom up, starting from urgent issues that emerge from society and demand European-scale responses. 

Eumans’ goal is precisely this: to propose European solutions to issues that transcend national borders (e.g. techno-scientific revolution, climate change, migrations, civil rights), involving people of every nationality. We aim to activate all the fragile instruments of direct democratic participation accessible to citizens, such as European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECIs) to be submitted to the Commission, petitions to the European Parliament, judicial appeals and appeals to the European Ombudsman

These instruments are clearly insufficient. However, through dialogue and mobilization on specific objectives, we want to help shape a European people, that is, a political community of citizens who interact directly with each other to change what concerns them. The ‘public sphere’, namely civil society and public opinion, is an indispensable element for any respectable democracy. Our goal is to open up national European public spheres to each other*, building a sense of true European citizenship and deliberative democracy

As the European people gain self-awareness, they will be more empowered to achieve federalist institutional reforms and democratic participation on a continental scale: legislation by popular initiative, referendums, randomly selected citizens’ assemblies, civic artificial intelligence. 

Institutional reforms from above and social mobilization from below are two essential elements for keeping democracy alive in the European Union. Eumans wants to be play an active role in this process. 


*J. Habermas, A New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and Deliberative Politics. Cambridge, UK - Hoboken, NJ, USA: Polity Press, 2023.