The results of the discussion – recommendations – were achieved thanks to a methodology that ensures active participation of all citizens, and finding a compromise among the diversity of opinions. A part of the discussions took place in plenary, while most of the work was done in smaller groups (3 groups in each discussion). Each of them was lead by a professional facilitator whose task was to engage every participant, not letting anyone start dominating the discussion. While facilitating the debates, the moderator also noted down participants’ views on cards, ensuring that views can be easily grouped and compiled. Due to the involvement of experts, participants’ recommendations are concrete and realistic.
All 12 discussions took place in September 2010 in the following towns: Ogre, Tukums, Daugavpils, Liepāja, Preiļi, Saldus, Valmiera, Ventspils, Alūksne, Talsi, Jelgava and Jēkabpils. In total, 230 people took part in the discussions. They were randomly-selected, representing different age groups and professions, resulting in diversity of opinions.
At the same time debates took place in EU house portal where the results, video and photo insights from each discussion were published.
From 27 September till 4 October anyone could vote for the most popular recommendations on the EU house portal. Recommendations were dividend in 8 areas – entrepreneurship and production, education, health care, social guarantees, green thinking, regions and the countryside, political responsibility, national identity and culture. Thanks to the internet vote, a wider public – not just the participants of the regional discussions – had an opportunity to express their opinion about the EU.
The results of the internet vote, as well as the results of the 12 discussions were published and discussed in a final event in the EU house in Riga, on 6 October 2010. The head of the European Commission representation in Latvia Iveta Šulca, PROVIDUS European policy researcher Dace Akule, PROVIDUS associated researcher Linda Jakobsone and the director of Civic Alliance-Latvia Rasma Pipike spoke on this event which was also broadcasted live on www.esmaja.lv
The compiled report about the results of the regional discussions (in Latvian) is available here (601.30 KB). It will be sent to Latvia’s president, prime minister and sectoral ministers, political groups represented in Saeima and the European affairs committee of the parliament, members of the European Parliament from Latvia, European Commission representation in Latvia, as well as representatives from municipalities were the regional discussions took place.
Additional information about the project (in Latvian) is available here: http://eslatvijaunes.esmaja.lv
Project partners: Civic Alliance-Latvia, Aluksne NGO Support Center, Jekabpils NGO Support center, ODIN/VITA, Zemgale NGO Center, Ventspils NGO Support Center, Ziemelkurzeme NGO center, Preili NGO Center, foundation „Zied zeme”, foundation „Association for the Development of Saldus region”, Liepaja Community Foundation, Tukum’s NGO Association, and Vidzeme University College.