EU Parliament pushes for more participatory tools for Europeans

Article by Silvia Ellena: “A majority of EU lawmakers adopted a report on Thursday (14 September) calling for more participatory tools at EU level. The report, which has no direct legislative impact, passed with 316 votes in favour, 137 against and 47 abstentions.

“We send a clear message to upgrade our democracy, a new EU Agora that involves citizens in European democratic life,” said Alin Mituța (Renew), co-rapporteur on the file, following the adoption of the report.

In the report, the Parliament called for the creation of a European Agora, an annual “structured participation mechanism” composed of citizens, who would deliberate on the EU’s priorities for the year ahead, providing input for the Commission work plan.

Moreover, EU lawmakers called for the creation of a one-stop-shop for all the existing instruments to make sure citizens have easier access to them.

The report also encourages increased use of mini-publics as well as the institutionalisation of other deliberative processes, such as the European Citizens’ Panels, which were set up by the Commission as a follow-up to the EU-wide democratic experiment known as the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE).

These panels, made of randomly selected citizens, were called to deliberate on upcoming legislation earlier this year.

Other participatory tools suggested in the report include EU-wide referendums on key EU policies as well as pan-European online citizens’ consultations to increase citizens’ knowledge of the EU as well as their trust in EU decision-making.

Finally, the Parliament called for an increased focus on the impact of EU policies on youth, suggesting the use of the ‘youth check’, a monitoring tool which has been promoted by the European Youth Forum and included in the CoFoE recommendations.

Other European institutions are already experimenting with the youth check, such as the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), whose recently appointed president included a youth test among the priorities for his mandate…

According to EU lawmakers, citizens’ participation plays a key role in strengthening democracy and the EU Commission should develop a “comprehensive European strategy to enhance citizenship competences in the EU”…(More)”.