CoFoE: deliberative democracy more accountable than elections and polls

Article by Eleonora Vasques: “Deliberative democracy processes are more democratic than general elections or surveys, according to Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) participants and experts of the second panel on democracy gathered in Florence last weekend.

CoFoE is a deliberative democracy experiment where 800 citizens, divided into four thematic panels, deliberate recommendations to discuss and vote on with lawmakers.

The panel on European democracy, values, rights, the rule of law, and security, recently approved 39 recommendations on anti-discrimination, democracy, the rule of law, EU institutional reforms, the building of a European identity, and the strengthening of citizen participation.

“Usually, the way we try to understand what people think is through elections or opinion polls. However, I think both methods are biased. They rather ‘freeze’ a debate, imposing the discussion, without asking people what they want. Thus, it is good that people here speak about their own will. And they do not necessarily use the same categories utilised by electoral campaigns and opinion polls,” Oliver Roy, professor at the European University Institute and one of the panel experts, told journalists…

Similarly, citizens selected for this panel believe that this democratic exercise is more valuable than mainstream political participation.

“I feel I am living a unique democratic experiment, which goes beyond the majority rule. Democracy is often understood only as a majority rule exercise, with elections. But here, we are demonstrating that democracy is about debating, sharing general ideas from the bottom up that can have an impact,” Max, a participant from Slovakia, told EURACTIV…(More)”.