EUROPE FOR CITIZENS
Objective and activities
The main objective of the project is to provide (European) local and regional policymakers, associations and citizens, tools and information to stimulate and support civic and political participation.
The capabilities, resources and information we will develop, both in the times of COVID-19 and beyond, will provide stronger and more inclusive democracies when the pandemic is over.
The core activities of the project are FIVE INTERNATIONAL EVENTS for all project partners (10-12 countries), supplemented by smaller LOCAL ACTIONS (a workshop, a conference) organized by each partner in their own country.
The participating partners come from the group of cities, municipalities or twin cities, federations, associations of local authorities, institutions representing other levels of local / regional authorities, local action groups, cultural centers, non-profit organizations from all EU Member States and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
The project is structured in 3 phases:
Phase 1: Creating Awareness (Event 1 and 2)
In the first phase, the project will provide the opportunity for the participants (policy officers, policy makers, educators, activists, community leaders, representatives of NGOs, volunteers - people from different social and professional backgrounds) to determine how the pandemic has (democratic) participation affected at different levels:
- Local, for example: the need for open green spaces in cities and local communities - the return and restoration of green spaces and parks.
This takes into account the consequences and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on political and social civic participation, with regard to: restrictions on fundamental civil liberties, the one and a half meter rule, any other restrictions on freedom of movement, taking into account the the fact that the government has a social obligation to prevent, treat and control epidemic, endemic, occupational diseases and other diseases.
The above-mentioned reflection (phase 1) will serve to understand the impact these measures have had and will continue to have on local, regional, national and global (citizen) participation.
Phase 2: Facilitating the exchange at policy level (Event 3)
In this second phase, an exchange of experiences and ideas between the participants will be facilitated with regard to specific aspects of a participatory democracy (such as citizen participation), such as:
- Open democracy (explaining political decisions and making them transparent): what is meant by a transparent and reliable government in times of crisis?
- Participatory democracy (citizens who can participate in decision-making): civic gatherings, crowdsourcing ideas and building consensus on particular issues and the need for local governments to allow communities to express their views.
- Fundamental rights in the EU, including the fundamental rights of refugees and migrants at European borders.
- The position of NGOs, journalists and whistleblowers - how has the crisis changed the landscape? Recognize, encourage and share positive initiatives that counter Euro-scepticism ("good practices")
Phase 3: Building civic and political participation across Europe (Event 4 and 5)
In the third phase, the participants elaborate ideas on how to realize and ensure democratic citizen participation in the times of COVID-19 and beyond.
- Digital resilience and 'tech' answers to COVID19 - 'tech-supported citizen participation' which is distinguished by the 'bottom-up' sharing of information, 'bottom-up emergence of public-private partnerships and the bottom-up emergence of collective participatory actions . How can technology bridge the gap between decision-makers and citizens?
- What can public authorities learn from the private sector and civil society organizations in light of COVID19? (eg flexible response to the crisis, organizational realignments, adaptable structures).
Start project : March 2021
End of project : June 2022
Duration : 1 year 3 months
May 2021 - International Event 1 (3 nights, 2 participants per partner)
Main topic: COVID-19 - the impact on democratic participation in the individual and local area.
September 2021 - International Event 2 (2 or 3 nights, 2-3 participants per partner)
Main topic: COVID-19 - the impact on democratic participation in the national, European and global spheres
September-November 2021 - Local follow-up activities: record videos
November 2021 - International Event 3 (2 or 3 nights, 2-3 participants per partner)
Main topic: Facilitating exchange at policy level: open and participatory democracy, fundamental rights and social environment.
November 2021-February 2022 - Local follow-up activities - debates and workshops.
February 2022 - International Event 4 (2 or 3 nights, 2-3 participants per partner)
Main topic: Building civic and political participation across Europe: digital resilience and "tech-enabled citizen participation".
March-April 2022 - Local follow-up activities - debates and workshops (continuation from Nov ’21)
April 2022 - International Event 5 (3 days, 2-3 participants per partner)
Main topic: Building civic and political participation across Europe: What can public authorities learn from the private sector and civil society organizations, in light of COVID19?
April - May 2022 - Dissemination activities at local and European level.