A new Deliberative-Collaborative eDemocracy model is emerging worldwide. This model can contribute to a more open and inclusive form of policy-making by involving citizens through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
ECAS is implementing a Digital Democracy Agenda, aiming to explore the democratic potential of ICT in:
- Reducing the gap between political elites and citizens;
- Transforming the relationship between EU citizens and EU decision-makers into more of a partnership, thus contributing to the creation of an engaged citizenship;
- Enabling the EU to go beyond consultations and structured dialogues with the usual stakeholders, to expand the number of contributors to EU policy-making, remove potential barriers to participation that translate into a general feeling of exclusion and engage groups that are underrepresented.
ECAS actively supports the implementation of the first transnational instrument of participatory democracy in the EU – the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – through the ECI Support Centre by providing legal advice, research, analysis and recommendations for the simplification of the ECI Regulation as well as through co-organising the annual ECI Day event in Brussels.
In the period 2015 – 2020 ECAS is working to:
- Define the possible scope and implications of Digital EU Citizenship in view of promoting and advocating for new approaches of engaging citizens based on ICT (e.g. crowdsourcing at EU level).
- Organise 3D – a Digital Democracy Day in Brussels as an annual event to raise awareness and report on new developments in the area.
- Advocate for increased user-friendliness and accessibility of the European Citizens Initiative.
- Promote and support the participation of youth in the EU decision-making process (e.g., the DEEP-linking Youth project).
- Facilitate a network of interested organisations and stakeholders in the Member States to multiply efforts and increase the impact of digital democracy in the EU.
- Launch a pilot on crowdsourced legislation at EU level.
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) gives citizens of the EU the unique opportunity to directly place their interests right at the heart of European policy-making by asking the European Commission (the Commission) to legislate on a matter of its competence. However, since its entry into force on 1 April 2012, this instrument has demonstrated both its potential as well as its limitations when it comes to connecting with citizens in an honest dialogue aimed at answering citizens’ concerns and providing a space where they can contribute to policy-making.
This study has been conducted by ECAS within the framework of the ECI Support Centre with the kind assistance of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.
The study aims to promote a better understanding of the ECI Regulation, particularly on the registration procedures for a proposed initiative, and it suggests a number of recommendations to be discussed when the review of the Regulation takes place based on an analysis of the “subject matters” of the ECIs that have been refused registration by the Commission.
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