During an interview with the European Citizens’ Initiative team, our Executive Director Assya Kavrakova described ECAS’ role in helping to develop the ECI into an effective instrument of participatory democracy.
Ms. Kavrakova described the ECI as “the first transnational participatory democracy mechanism, not only in Europe, but worldwide”, adding however that its potential for agenda-setting can only be used when citizens’ support is effectively mobilized. She underlined that the ECI has proved difficult to use in the past due to administrative hurdles, and excessive workloads for organizers which prevented them from effectively engaging with citizens.
The Commission’s recently proposed changes are largely aimed at making the tool more user-friendly, and will “make it easier for citizens to launch an initiative, and empower organisers to run campaigns efficiently and effectively”.
One of the main changes was the implementation of the ECI Forum, an online collaborative platform that provides advice and information to organisers before, during and after the process of launching and implementing an initiative. The Forum, which is a pilot project operated by ECAS, European Service Network (ESN), and CARSA on behalf of and under contract to the European Commission, was presented at the EU Civic Days 2018 conference in Sofia, Bulgaria from 29 to 31 May.
The interactive nature of the platform aims to generate discussions between (potential) organisers, citizens and experts on the topic of the ECI. The Forum also offers the opportunity to directly seek advice, by submitting enquires and receiving tailor-made legal, campaigning and fundraising advice.
Read the full interview here.