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Civil Society Days 2021
March 1, 2021 @ 10:00 am - March 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be an endurance test for human and social rights, democratic values, the rule of law and economic resilience in the EU. While navigating stormy waters, organised civil society is playing a key role in coping with the countless pandemic-related challenges at European, national, regional and local level. All citizens must be involved in the current recovery and reconstruction process, and the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, so as to make sure that no one is left behind on our way towards a sustainable Europe in 2030 and beyond.
Against this background, the fully virtual 2021 European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Civil Society Days are intended to be a public forum bringing together European citizens, civil society organisations and the European institutions for a debate about the essential components of A Sustainable Recovery for the Future of Europe’s citizens. While delivering on the high expectations of its citizens, Europe must ensure that the ecological and digital transitions are built on the values of solidarity and human rights, social justice, equality, and on education, culture, migration, democracy, participation and entrepreneurship.
In order to carve out some pathways along which possible answers might emerge, civil society members of the Liaison Group will offer eight interactive workshops on key topics of relevance. Sharing expertise on digital democracy and populism, ECAS is co-organising the following workshop:
Workshop ‘Multilevel sustainable democracy in Europe’
March 1st, 2021, 14:30 – 16:30
Organised by the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), International Association Rurality-Environment-Development (R.E.D.) and the EESC Ad hoc Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law
Over the past few years, the surge in populism and disinformation across Europe has borne witness to citizens’ disengagement from and loss of trust in the governing institutions. In order to fight against the rise in extreme votes, and to breathe new life into citizen participation it is crucial to reconnect the political and institutional sphere to the citizens. In this process, digital democracy, through all its different challenges and opportunities, plays a fundamental role in the link between EU citizens and their engagement.
The discussion will focus on the different initiatives that promote democracy at all levels: local and national, rural and urban, online and offline. This holistic approach is vital to the wellbeing of democracy, as inclusion of and engagement with all citizens is key in countering populist trends. Furthermore, the workshop will explore the different elements that are important in order to ensure sustainable democracy in the digital era. While digital technologies represent a great opportunity to foster citizens’ engagement with democratic processes, they also influence the way in which citizens access information that could shape their ideas in the public sphere. The panel will explore the potential of participatory mechanisms in reconnecting citizens to the political sphere as well as considering the obstacles that hamper the possibility for citizens to actively participate in political life.
View the workshop agenda here.
ECAS will also contribute to the event’s closing session, which will be moderated by our Executive Director, Assya Kavrakova:
Panel discussion on the outcomes from the workshops:
- N.N., Portuguese Council Presidency
- Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions (tbc)
- Piotr Sadowski, President of the Social Platform
- Victor Meseguer, Director of the Social Economy Europe
- Anja Fortuna, Vice-President of the European Youth Forum
- Sandro Gozi, MEP and President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF)
- Audience Q&A
Towards a sustainable recovery for the future of Europe’s citizens:
Closing remarks by:
- Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, European Commission (tbc)
- Christa Schweng, President of the EESC
- Brikena Xhomaqi, Liaison Group co-chair (Lifelong Learning Platform – LLLP)