Project: "Horizon EU" European citizenship: a horizontal development
The overall aim of this project is to familiarise participating citizens (and all those who discover the project) with the ways and means ensuring that their voice is heard in Europe by adopting a bottom-up approach. The project is based on the Notre Europe –Jacques Delors Institute's extensive experience in citizens' affairs, which was highlighted by Jacques Delors himself when he chose the name "Notre Europe", meaning our Europe, in an effort to reaffirm the need for the construction of Europe close to citizens.
There is a steering committee comprising all of the partners including DIKTIO. Ms. Anthi Soulitsioti, member of DIKTIO, participated in the 1rst meeting of the Steering Committee of “The EU looks ahead” project in Paris in which the partners discussed the 1rst stage of the project (see below).
A Project in Three Stages
Stage 1 – Access
Developing one's civic competence in a horizontal mode
Month 1 - Month 6
The development of civic competences in relation to the EU can powerfully urge European citizens to actively participate in the public debate on Europe. To be effective, this development of civic competences must be fostered in a horizontal mode, in other words based on relationships established between European citizens of same level, rather than in a vertical mode - citizen-Brussels or member state-Brussels.
This horizontal approach will be based on the identification of representative groups of about 8 citizens, thanks to our Management partner OPTEM, taken from the following 18 member states:
- The Netherland,
- Czech Republic,
These countries are also representative of the EU. France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain are both representing old and large member states in their diversity, with the driving Franco-German tandem, Italy which is an economic power in difficulty, the Eurosceptic United-Kingdom and Spain which is under a program. Medium and prosperous countries are represented by Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands. Ireland is a medium country which has been roughly hit by the crisis, but which begins to recover. Greece represents medium countries in great difficulty. Poland is there as a large country which joined the EU recently, as Czech Republic and Hungary which are furthermore Eurosceptic. Estonia and Latvia stand for Baltic countries which have feared the EU for long, but which are now opening up more and more. Cyprus embodies the insular South. Lastly, Romania and Bulgaria are the last countries entered in the EU; and if the former was rather pro-European but is now drifting away slowly, the later experiences the opposite process. In the end, 144 citizens will be directly involved in the first stage of the project.
The horizontal approach will also be implemented in two phases, first through discussions among citizens from a same country ("national discussions"), and subsequently by giving the observations and recommendations formulated by the other countries' citizens to all of the groups ("European contacts").
Stage 2 – Exchanges
Exercising its civic competences in a European framework
Month 7 - Month 8
Three representatives from each national group, that is 54 citizens, will be invited to Brussels to exercise their civic competences actively : the first day ("European Discussions") will be devoted to an exchange amongst them, once again in a horizontal mode, so that they can get to know each other and forge a group dynamic; the second day ("European Debates") will be devoted to a direct exchange with a number of representatives of the European institutions, attended by a broader audience (partner-intermediaries and the public).
The 2nd meeting of the steering committee took place in Brussels on May 4rth and Mrs. Anthi Soulitsioti, member of DIKTIO, participated in. See the programme below.
CITIZENS’ MEETING PROGRAMME
SUNDAY 4 - MONDAY 5 MAY • BRUSSELS
CITIZENS FACING THE EU: WHAT MESSAGES?
MONDAY 5 MAY • 9.30 > 15.00 • BRUSSELS
In order to prepare stage 3 the steering committee held a meeting on July 22 in Paris and Mrs. Anthi Soulitsioti, member of DIKTIO participated in.
Stage 3 – Involvement
Encouraging Europe's citizens to develop and to exercise their competence
Month 9 - Month 12
The third stage will be geared to use the earlier observations and recommendations voiced by the citizens, but also to highlight the example of citizens’ direct involvement, in an attempt to stimulate active European citizenship. It will be implemented via parallel steps towards the two actors involved in the dialogue, the European and national institutions ("Institutional Recommendations") on the one hand, and the public ("Citizens' Suggestions") on the other hand.