These general objectives were achieved in activities focusing on specific aims:
• Activities increasing citizens’ understanding of EU policy-making process and enabling improved and regular citizen participation on EU level. Via online publications and comments to media we provided citizens with an analysis of votes of the current European Parliament from the European and national perspectives (Activity 1), as well as an evaluation of the political offer of Latvian MEP candidates and an analysis of EP election results (Activity 2). PROVIDUS also provided an online tool helping at least 4000 voters in Latvia to compare their opinions with MEP candidates’ positions on topical EU issues (Activity 3) and facilitated civic education of the youth on the role of European Parliament in a simulation of EP elections 2030 (Activity 5).
• Activities enabling citizens to debate policy issues with a clear EU angle. PROVIDUS organized citizens’ task force to discuss a study highlighting the achievements of EU enlargement and the quality of engagement in EU decision-making in 11 new EU member states (Activity 6), facilitated quality debates on the progress achieved since Latvia joined the EU and set tasks for the future in 10 areas that are important for society’s development (Activity 7), and ensured feedback on the options and red lines for future EU integration scenarios from the Latvian perspective (Activity 8). PROVIDUS also conducted a citizen consultation on immigration policy highlighting European framework (Activity 9).
• Activities exploring ways to enhance a favourable environment for civic participation at EU level. PROVIDUS analysed opportunities for CSOs to shape European integration via shaping national positions on EU legislative and policy proposals in 10 EU member states and train CSOs on skills required to be active on EU level (Activity 11).
Full list of activities implemented by PROVIDUS under the work programme in 2014:
Activity 1 (Analysis of European Parliament voting in 2009-2013):
• An internet tool was created to publish information and analysis on 15 most important EP votes (including comments from the Members of Parliament): http://providus.lv/page/es-balsojumi
• Information on 15 significant EP votes was also shared with another Latvian CSOs (Transparency International Latvia – Delna) that had created a website with information about MEP candidates. Within the profile of every candidate who was an MEP during 2009-2013 a link to the 15 votes analysed was published together with their explanation.
• Latvian journalists who were in charge of organising pre-election debates were briefed on the results of this research during a seminar organized by PROVIDUS on April 28.
Activity 2 (analysis on election platforms of political parties in European Parliament elections).
• Voters could read an analysis of the political platforms of all political parties taking part in 2014 EP election here: http://providus.lv/article/mini-recenzijas-eiropas-parlamenta-velesanu-programmam
• In addition to that, PROVIDUS policy analysts commented on the EP political platforms for the national level media, reaching a broad audience (for example, PROVIDUS policy analyst Iveta Kazoka commented on April 27 on political party platforms – the comments were aired by the prime time investigative journalism program “de facto”.Those comments were also covered by the main Latvian internet news portals (for example, http://www.delfi.lv/news/national/politics/partiju-programmas-varbut-tikai-10-nav-tuksu-solijumu-secina-eksperte.d?id=44435514)
Activity 3 (voting advice application)
• More than 4000 Latvian voters compared their political positions with those of political parties taking part in EP 2014 elections: http://www.pielaikopartiju.lv. It was part of a trans-european voting advice application VoteMatch – altogether more than 2 million EU citizens used this application. In order to increase awareness of this tool PROVIDUS organized a campaign via social media, bought some Facebook advertising spots and shared the application with the second largest Latvian internet news portal tvnet.lv
• In a 5-day workshop on 17-21 February, 25 students of Riga School Nymber 53 simulated EP elections in 2030, combining the roles of voters with the tasks of politicians, media, public relations’ consultants and advocacy CSOs. The outcomes of this event are described in an online article: http://providus.lv/article/rigas-53-vidusskola-attista-idejas-ilgtspejigai-eiropai
• Within the project Enlargement and Citizenship, which produced a comparative study and opinion polls providing in-depth assessment on 11 new EU member states’ level of integration and engagement in EU decision-making, PROVIDUS published the Latvian country report on engagement in the EU decision-making processes under the title “Latvia’s 10 years in the European Union: public opinion and decision making practices”. It is available online both in Latvian and English: http://providus.lv/article_files/2840/original/Latvijas_10_gadi_ES_sabiedribas_noskanojums_un_lemumu_pienemsana_EN.pdf?1423575773
To discuss the conclusions of this report, PROVIDUS organised a stakeholders’ discussion on December 11. The discussion was attended by 17 stakeholders, including the chair of parliamentary European Affairs committee. In addition, there was an editorial written by PROVIDUS’ policy analyst for the largest Latvian internet news portal delfi.lv and that was based on the results of this research: http://www.delfi.lv/news/comment/comment/iveta-kazoka-kadel-tiesi-latvijai-ir-tik-svariga-prezidentura-eiropas-savienibas-padome.d?id=45253356
PROVIDUS also commented on the results of the research conducted within the framework of this project (including on opinion poll results) to other media. For example: http://www.lvportals.lv/visi/viedokli?id=266938 and http://www.diena.lv/latvija/zinas/latviesi-netic-ka-var-ietekmet-es-lemumus-14080469
• A part of the same project, PROVIDUS organized (on 7 March 2014) a citizens’ task force meeting ( of 17 participants) testing citizens’ willingness to engage in EU affairs. The results of the citizens’ task force meeting were summarized in an online article: http://providus.lv/article/esam-eiropiesi-vai-neesam-latvijas-iedzivotaji-un-es
• PROVIDUS policy analyst also produced the international comparative report on 11 new EU member states’ level of integration and engagement in EU decision-making that is available on the PASOS website: http://pasos.org/11614/enlargement-and-citizenship-looking-to-the-future/
• A publication produced by 7 Latvian CSOs, evaluating the main outcomes of Latvia’s 10 years in the EU, was published online on the public policy portal Politika.lv (now – Providus.lv) and hard copies (300) were disseminated via think tanks and NGOs that were part of this initiative and during a public event presenting this publication. The report is available both in Latvian and in English here: http://providus.lv/article/latvija-pec-10-gadiem-eiropas-savieniba-cita-latvija
• In addition to the publication PROVIDUS also published 10 infographics on the changes in Latvia since joining the EU: http://providus.lv/article/latvija-pec-10-gadiem-eiropas-savieniba-cita-latvija
• The findings were discussed in a public event in Riga on 6 May 2014 gathering 28 participants. http://www.esmaja.lv/latvija-desmit-gadus-es/diskusija-ka-vertet-latvijas-dalibas-eiropas-savieniba-desmitgadi-ieraksts-p The debate was also live streamed online on the national news portal Apollo.lv and the public policy website Politika.lv (now – Providus.lv), where the video of the debate is published.
Activity 8 (Debates on the future of Europe)
• Based on a report produced by European experts, debates with national policy makers and stakeholders were organized in Riga on 28 March 2014 gathering 40 participants. The public debate was live streamed online on the public policy portal Politika.lv (now – Providus.lv). http://providus.lv/article/iespeja-laiks-jaunam-eiropas-paktam
• A summary was published providing feedback from the Latvian perspective on future EU integration scenarios for pan-European debates. The summary and video of the public event is available on the public policy portal Politika.lv (now – Providus.lv). http://providus.lv/article/jauns-ligums-eiropai-jeb-es-krustceles
• Citizens’ Consultations on Immigration Policy, 2014 were organised by PROVIDUS in Riga on 7-8 June 2014. The conclusions from this event were published as an article and video, with info graphics about participants’ evaluation of different options of immigration policies. http://providus.lv/article/pilsonu-debates-par-imigraciju
Activity 11 (study on CSO involvement in EU policy)
• A study on opportunities for civil society organisations to shape European integration in 10 EU member states was published in Latvian, English, Polish and Czech: http://providus.lv/article/organizetas-pilsoniskas-sabiedribas-iespejas-ietekmet-es-lemumu-pienemsanu-caur-nacionalajam-pozicijam
• A visualisation of EU decision making highlighting participation opportunities was published in English. It was both published online and distributed among CSOs in more than 1000 hard copies: http://providus.lv/article/infografika-ka-iesaistities-lemumu-pienemsana-eiropas-savieniba
• Conferences and technical seminars with decision makers, media and civil society organisation representatives were held in Riga, Warsaw and Prague. In Riga the conference took place on February 7, 2014. It was livestreamed by the second largest Latvian internet news portal:
• Two of the conference discussions were published as separate articles: http://providus.lv/article/pieradijumos-balstita-lemumu-pienemsana-es-jautajumos-kad-klus-par-latvijas-realitati and http://providus.lv/article/ka-uzlabot-konsultesanas-praksi-es-jautajumos
• To promote the research findings among international audience, PROVIDUS policy analyst published two articles in international media: The European Magazine http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/iveta-kazoka/9268-is-the-european-union-destined-to-be-elitist and for Euroactive: http://ivetakazoka.blogactiv.eu/2014/11/27/participation-mechanisms-beyond-european-citizens%E2%80%99-initiative/
The work programme was financed by Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union