Rapporteur – general: Declan Mc Donnell (IE/EA)
Member of the Galway City Council
Around 70% of EU policies are implemented at the local and regional level. At the same time, EU policies affect people's daily lives in ways that policy makers cannot always foresee. This, combined with the lack of information on the EU and outright disinformation campaigns sometimes leads to a perception of the EU as distant from the people.
Elected local and regional politicians are the level of government closest to citizens and thus, best placed to serve as a bridge between the citizens and the decision-makers in Brussels. Their role could be both to inform the citizens on what the EU is doing and provide the citizens' feedback on how the EU affects their daily lives and what ideas they might have for future initiatives.
In this framework, the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe will be an important opportunity to strengthen the links between citizens and EU institutions, notably to discuss how to make the EU more democratic, resilient and closer to the people. Local and regional authorities can play a key role in the conference, as interface between their communities and EU institutions, facilitating the organisation of debates, aggregating and processing the outcomes.
Cllr Declan McDonnell, member of the Galway City council (Ireland) is preparing an opinion on establishing a permanent dialogue for consultation with citizens managed by local and regional authorities and he would like to hear your experiences and ideas on how this could be set up.
The opinion will be adopted during the October 2020 CoR plenary session.
With the aim of including a range of different positions and so enrich the opinion with the local and regional point of view and that of associations and organisations working in the field, the rapporteur would like to ask you a number of questions in the form of a written consultation facilitated by the European Committee of the Regions.
The consultation focuses on the following questions, that Mr Mc Donnell would like you to answer via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 17 July 2020, 5 pm.
- Is your organisation involved in organising deliberative/participatory democracy initiatives? If so, please describe the types of initiatives.
- How would you envisage a permanent mechanism to ensure citizens' input in EU policies? Please take into account that it should be resource-efficient and not impose too much additional burden on already existing structures.
- How do you see a role for the local and regional authorities and the European Committee of the Regions in organising and managing such consultations?
- Are you aware of any innovative ways in which citizens engage with democracy through the use of sports, arts, culture?
- How best can deliberative/participatory democracy engage with young people, minority groups and those that are socially excluded? Please provide examples if you are aware of any.
- Should the citizens be consulted only on specific thematic areas in a given period of time (for example, synchronised the Commission's work programme) or should they be free to set the agenda themselves?
- Can digital technology play a greater role in ensuring citizen's input is received?
- Which other stakeholders (NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, different levels of government, etc.) could/should be directly involved in the organisation of the dialogues and how?
- How would you ensure a proper follow up to the discussions and provide feedback to the citizens on the input received?
- How can citizens be best informed about the impact of their inventions and suggestions?