The New Pact for Europe project – launched by by the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium) in collaboration with the Bertelsmann Stiftung and supported by a large transnational consortium including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, European Network of Foundations, European Policy Centre, La Caixa Foundation, Stiftung Mercator, Open Estonia Foundation, Open Society Initiative for Europe, and the Swedish Cultural Foundation – develops proposals and promotes a Europe wide debate on how to reform the European Union in light of the manifold challenges Europe is currently facing. More information about initiative can be found on the New Pact for Europe website, www.newpactforeurope.eu.
This project aims to promote a Europe-wide debate on reform proposals addressing three fundamental questions which need to be answered to develop an effective response to the multi-dimensional crisis Europeans are facing:
- What is at stake if ‘Europe’ cannot tackle the various challenges we face? (‘What do we need the EU for?’)
- What kind of collaboration is needed at European level to respond to the crisis? (‘What needs to be done?’)
- How can the answers to these two questions be translated into action to make the EU more effective and to command broader-based public support? (‘How should it be done?’)
During this Project Advisory group and Reflection group was formed. Advisory Group provides input to, and inspiration for, the elaboration of a New Pact between policy-makers and European citizens and between Member States. The Reflection Group includes top opinion-makers from different EU Member States, who have a genuine interest in the success of European integration, are realistic and pragmatic but at the same time able to think ‘out of the box’, and ready and able to communicate through the media.
The Advisory Group brings together high-ranking policy-makers, academics, NGO representatives and other stakeholders – a mixture of past and current national and European leaders from different sectors and backgrounds.
A report outlining Strategic Options for Europe’s Future was be prepared during the first phase of the Project. This report, which reflects the work and discussions of a Reflection Group, enriched by input from an Advisory Group made up of prominent Europeans from the worlds of politics, business, academia, and civil society, analyses the ‘state of the Union’, describes the key challenges Europe faces and presents five potential strategic options for the future of European integration.
This report will be further discussed between January-April 2014 by citizens, politicians, policy-makers and key stakeholders in around 50 events in many EU countries to generate ideas for future action. After that, based on the outcome of these debates, a proposal for a New Pact for Europe will be drafted, including concrete recommendations and ideas, which will be presented to the new EU leadership assuming office after the elections to the European Parliament in May 2014, when strategic choices about Europe’s long-term future will have to be made.
One goal of the New Pact for Europe project is to foster a wider public debate on the EU’s future at both European and national level, involving not only policy-makers but also citizens; to contribute fresh but also realistic thinking and ideas on how to address the challenges facing Europe; and to help close widening gaps between Member States and even within EU countries about Europe’s future.
A new pact can only succeed if citizens, civil society and other stakeholders are involved in its development. The analysis and the options elaborated by the Reflection Group and discussed with the Advisory Group will provide the underpinning for a wider debate across Europe. They will be discussed at national level to gather feedback, identify ‘red lines’ and start a broader national and transnational discussion on the choices facing Europe. The ultimate aim of this phase is to see whether one or a combination of the options presented could be used as the basis for the New Pact for Europe. The debates in the member states will take place from December 2013 to April 2014 under three different formats.
Citizens’ Advisory Groups
The Citizens’ Advisory Groups, one of the formats used for discussions, will bring together randomly selected citizens that will give feedback and additional ideas to the expert discussion on the strategic options for the future of Europe. The Citizens’ Advisory Groups will be organised in 10 EU member states by national think tanks and NGOs with the support of national foundations involved in the project.
Public stakeholder debates
Public panel debates will be organized with a broad range of stakeholders in 15 member states: representatives from civil society, business community, employers’ and trade unions, think tanks and media, policy makers from national, regional and local level. Members of the Reflection Group will participate at these debates that will feed into the reflection.
Debates with key policy-makers
Another format used to gather input will be the debates with key policy-makers that will be organized in 15 member states. These will involve national parliamentarians working on EU issues, members of the national governments, their senior advisors and top civil servants, key representatives of regions and members of the Reflection Group and/or the Advisory Group from the respective member state.
The first report of the project is available here.
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