The goal of the European Citizens’ Consultations is to involve citizens in the decision-making process of the European Union. As the 2009 European Parliament elections were approaching, European Citizens’ Consultations 2009 gave the opportunity for citizens to discuss among themselves and together with the decision makers the question that was most topical to them: “What can the EU do to shape our economic and social future in a globalised world?” While EU institutions began to revisit the aims of the Lisbon strategy to promote EU’s economic growth and sustainability, European Citizens’ Consultations provided a timely and relevant contribution to the work of policy-makers.le
European Citizens’ Consultations 2009 LATVIEŠU
- Project duration: October 2008 - June 2009
- Project costs: 25000 EUR
- Financier: European Commission, King Baudouin Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo, Riksbankens Jubileums fond, Robert Bosch Foundation
- Contacts: Krista Baumane
The project was financed and implemented in all EU member states by a consortium of independent non-profit organizations and associations lead by King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium. In Latvia the national partner was the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS. Consultations were co-financed by European Commission program “Debate Europe”.
A pan-European online debate marked the first stage in the European Citizens’ Consultations 2009 process. Between December 3, 2008 and the national consultations in March 2009, more than 250,000 people from all over Europe visited the ECC websites set up in every EU member state to discuss and put forward their ideas on what the EU can do shape our economic and social future. This debate took place in the national languages of each country, enabling all members of the public to make their voices heard and propose ideas for action. In Latvia the debates took place at www.eiropas-pilsoņu-debates.eu
After voting on the most popular proposals during the online debates, the top proposals from the online debate in each country were fed into that country’s national consultation for discussion by the citizens who attended the event. Consultations took place in March 2009 – during three weekends, every weekend simultaneously in nine countries.
In Latvia, 33 randomly-selected participants took part in the consultations on March 28 – 29, 2009. They discussed future challenges and drafted 10 proposals for EU politicians, how to shape the social and economic future of the EU. First reactions on the results of the consultations came from members of the European Parliament. The results of the Consultations were solemnly given to the President of Latvia HE Valdis Zatlers. The results of the Latvian consultation (in English) are available here (1.87 MB).
The outcomes of all 27 national deliberations were then drawn together to prepare a European overview of national recommendations, shortly after the last round of the consultations was held. This overview of the top ten recommendations from all 27 Member States was then debated online by the general public and the final 15 European recommendations were selected by those citizens who attended the consultations at national level.
These 15 European recommendations formed the basis of the European Citizens’ Summit, attended by 150 participants from the 27 national consultations, which was held in Brussels on May 10-11, 2009. There, citizens finalised a set of European recommendations and discussed these with European policy-makers, including the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barrosu and the President of the European Parliament Hans Gert Pottering.
The results of the European Citizens’ Consultation (in English) are available here (505.30 KB).
After the European Parliament elections also the newly elected Members of the European Parliament were informed of the results of the European Citizens’ Consultations, and regional discussions were organized. Baltic and Scandinavian countries’ regional European Citizens’ Consultation focused on the issues of energy and environment. It was organized on September 28, 2009 in Copenhagen.
For more information on the project, please visit http://www.european-citizens-consultations.eu/