The vision of a dynamic and participatory Europe, requires the involvement in its narrative of more citizens coming from different backgrounds; taking advantage of the diversity and the variety of cultures that Europe offers.
On the 13th and 14th of January, 2 events from the series "Launching a citizens-led Conference on the Future of Europe" organised by Citizens Take Over Europe focused on how to increase the involvement of groups of citizens including minorities to set up a citizens-led Conference on the Future of Europe .
Amongst the intiatives presented at the conference were ideas about how Citizens Assemblies can be run and tools for enhancing a new participatory democracy.
The first event entitled “Storytelling the Future of Europe: How do we create a European narrative for more to join in?” was a riveting discussion on how to specifically include more artists, creators educators and campaigners.
The break-out rooms allowed me to actively take part in the discussion on involving artists and creators. I was impressed by the flood of new ideas and the concrete proposals of how to involve the “world of culture”.
The vibrant atmosphere paved the way for a flourishing discussion on enhancing performing initiatives, funding events, introducing new tools, strengthening the network of existing organisations and promoting a European month for Culture, as well as setting up the ‘Artists Assembly’.
On the second day the public hearing with members of the EU institutions showed that the civil society organisation are ready to organise a conference for citizens by citizens. The conversation focused on the many and varied ways to create representative assemblies and build consensus.
There is an almost certain thirst for young people to have a stronger role in the decision making process as well as a representation for minorities and people with different vision about Europe and personal political engagement.
Previous experiences, such as the French Climate Convention and specific methodology to select the participants, are available and can be used.
Something that truly impacted me and is at the base of this can be pin-pointed by 3 words I took form Helmut Shcolz’ intervention, translated in fundamental principles: trust, participation and transparency.
Energy, ideas, active collaboration of 40 civil societies organisations leave a strong message that it is time now, as Povl Henningsen said ‘to bring Europeans together - virtually or face to face - to talk about democracy in ways that inspire, engage and motivate - locally, nationally and internationally’
About the author
Luisa Maccalli is a board member of New Europeans UK and based in Paris.