European citizen participation: increasing citizen identification with the European Union

378 views

Published on

The best way to guarantee the reassessment of the European unification process, its renewal and updating is giving greater visibility and prominence to the achievements of Europe, as well as promoting procedures of citizen participation and interaction with institutions and community organizations
Education and training of Europeans are the key parts of the project “Upgrading Europe 2012-2015”, which, along with a substantial improvement in communication and collaboration between the institutional levels of state members, make up the main nexus when increasing the role of citizens in the process of building the European Union.
This document was prepared by Corporate Excellence – Centre for Repuation Leadership and contains references, among other sources, to the statements made by Jaume Duch, spokesman of the European Parliament and director of media; Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, secretary of State for the European Union; Pablo Zalba, MEP from the Partido Popular; Antolín Sánchez, Socialist MEP; Cristina Manzano, Foreign Policy Director in Spanish; José Ignacio Torreblanca, European Council on Foreign Relations Director in Spain; Susana del Río, director of Upgrading Europe 2012-2015, during the session “Citizens and New European Policy: Upgrading Europe 2012-2015” held along with the European Commission and Parliament office in Spain, in Madrid on September 20, 2012.

Published in: Education
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
378
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
5
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

European citizen participation: increasing citizen identification with the European Union

  1. 1. Insights Strategy Documents I35/2012 Public Affairs European citizen participation: increasing citizen identification with the European Union The best way to guarantee the reassessment of the European unification process, its renewal and updating is giving greater visibility and prominence to the achievements of Europe, as well as promoting procedures of citizen participation and interaction with institutions and community organizations Education and training of Europeans are the key parts of the project “Upgrading Europe 20122015”, which, along with a substantial improvement in communication and collaboration between the institutional levels of state members, make up the main nexus when increasing the role of citizens in the process of building the European Union. Representative democracy means not only to exercise the right to vote every four or five years; that behaviour repeats more frequently among citizens, when the European Parliament elections take place; the remoteness of Brussels and complication of the European process make Europeans sceptical and often disassociated to the process. Participatory democracy, however, broadens the horizons of representative democracy enabling interaction of administrations and people, making it more regular and fruitful, not only dependent on the electoral process and the renewal of the legislative or executive presidencies, but also, dependent on regular communication with citizens about political management throughout the policy term. Transnational democracy quality that comes with the EU, implies the ability to adapt to major global challenges posed by twenty-first century and that as part of this project- will be analysed university professors and students, political leaders, journalists, bloggers, associations and foundations members. Therefore, main European actors in this field are linked and integrated in the project working together in a network to make of the project a catalyst for a new European policy that gives priority to the value of citizen participation, cultural diversity, development of skills beyond mere training, improve This document was prepared by Corporate Excellence – Centre for Repuation Leadership and contains references, among other sources, to the statements made by Jaume Duch, spokesman of the European Parliament and director of media; Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, secretary of State for the European Union; Pablo Zalba, MEP from the Partido Popular; Antolín Sánchez, Socialist MEP; Cristina Manzano, Foreign Policy Director in Spanish; José Ignacio Torreblanca, European Council on Foreign Relations Director in Spain; Susana del Río, director of Upgrading Europe 2012-2015, during the session “Citizens and New European Policy: Upgrading Europe 2012-2015” held along with the European Commission and Parliament office in Spain, in Madrid on September 20, 2012.
  2. 2. European citizen participation: increasing citizen identification with the European Union the Erasmus project and, above all, the exchange of views and ideas to support European integration. Europe, a successful brand According to Susana del Río, director of the project “Upgrading Europe 2012-2015”, explaining the achievements of the European Union is an essential aspect since citizens tend to forget –especially in times of severe crisis like nowadays– the achieved advances thanks to the process started more than 60 years ago. Hence, to support the European branding is the necessary way if the goal is to engage citizens with Europe. The best way to create a European space more and more solid is to generate an open, honest and paneuropean debate including all the Union countries. “Participation is the best way to fight effectively against a widespread perception of the EU deciding not taking into account citizens” The European Citizens’ Initiative Upon entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009 was activated a new important mechanism for participation, the European Citizens’ Initiative, a possibility that allows citizens (one million) to take active part in the development and political decisions of EU, to be able to request the Commission to submit a proposal for legislation that eventually will have to be approved by the Parliament. The purpose of this initiative is giving more voice and power to people and compensating the excess weight of lobbies and pressure groups or large corporations; it seeks to raise interest of ordinary citizens by the debate on Europe, about its construction process and its future, beyond the current economic and political vicissitudes. The brand Europe represents a project of crossing national borders at all levels and, compared to other models of growth and unification, it means the creation of a political superstructure: the European Union, from a more integrative perspective in human and social terms, personal welfare and trade and economic exchange. This is the project of Europeanism, according to Antolín Sánchez, Socialist MEP. This new tool is organized through a committee of seven citizens residing in each of the countries where the initiative is entered in the register and collected one million signatures for the countries concerned, to detail and present it publicly in the European Parliament. Only then, is when the Commission decides whether the initiative is considered or rejected. The solution to the financial crisis problems is a stronger European brand, a model change and a commitment to economic and political unification, following the leadership models of other strong brands as the United States, according to Pablo Zalba, MEP from the Partido Popular. One of the process that has been gradually developed in the EU and that citizens have probably not seen enough -when compared to its real importance- is the fact that the power within the Union has been displaced by the Community institutions, countries and their structures according to José Ignacio From technocratization to participation Graph 1: How does the European Citizens’ Initiative work? Get started! Register your initiative. 1 Commission answers within 2 months Prepare your initiative and set up your citizen’s committee. Collect! 4 2 Collect statements of support in at least 7 EU countries. Max. 12 months 3 National authority answers within 1 month Submit! 7 If the Commission decides to follow your initiative: the legislative procedure starts. Get statements of support certified by national authorities. National authorities answer within 3 months You wish to collect online? Get your system certified. 8 5 The Commission examines your initiative and replies. 6 You have at least 1 000 000 signatories? Submit your initiative to the Commisssion. Commission answers within 3 months. Source: My Voice, 2012. Insights 2
  3. 3. European citizen participation: increasing citizen identification with the European Union Graph 2: The Eurozone Countries of the Euro. EU countries not in the Euro zone. Sweden Finlandia Finland Denmark Netherlands Ireland Latvia Lithuania Great Belgium Britain Germany Poland Czech Rep. Luxembourg Slovakia France Austria Hungary Slovenia Italy Portugal “The euro has become the main symbol of EU identity, the most important sign of unification and achievements” Spain Grecia Greece Source: Wikipedia, 2012. Torreblanca, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Spain. Parallel to this process, there has been a progressive technocratization of European institutions, their policies and their leaders, which has distanced citizens from Europe and decisions taken here, and has deepened in disaffection towards the Union and its politicians. Participation is a good solution to the problems of this technocratization. It reduces the democratic structural deficit of the EU that has existed since its inception as CECA and its subsequent conversion into European Economic Community (EEC). According to Jaume Duch, spokesman of the European Parliament and director of media, this is the best way to fight effectively against a general widespread perception, according to which the European Union decides on the side-lines of the citizens interests, without listening them or taken them into account. This is the best reflection of the political crisis in the EU. At the same time, the euro, the single European currency, has become the main symbol of EU identity, the most important sign of unification and the achievements. It is no coincidence, in that sense, that, according to research carried out by European institutions, the countries belonging to the euro are the ones that show a higher degree of positive identification with the EU. Conclusion: overcoming disaffection If something is hurting the process of European integration nowadays -even more than its financial crisis- is a political crisis that underlies a democratic deficit that has been dragged on since its inception and has been exacerbated in recent years when a silent transfer of powers from Member States to Community institutions occurred. The solution to this important problem is to strength participation mechanisms within the political structures of the EU and training and achievements that the European Union has put on the table in favour of improving the quality of life and opportunities for its citizens. Finally, the improvement in the citizens identification with the Union is the other cornerstone necessary in which the euro played an important role, hence the importance of maintaining it; a process that will live its next test in the Parliament elections to be held in 2014 and will serve to check whether citizens still are tuned with the European project. Insights 3
  4. 4. Leading by reputation ©2013, Corporate Excellence – Centre for Reputation Leadership Business foundation created by large companies to professionalize the management of intangible assets and contribute to the development of strong brands, with good reputation and able to compete in the global market. Its mission is to be the driver which leads and consolidates the professional management of reputation as a strategic resource that guides and creates value for companies throughout the world. Legal Notice This document is property of the Corporate Excellence – Centre for Reputation Leadership and has as its objective to share business knowledge about Brand, Reputation, Communication and Public Affairs Management. Corporate Excellence – Centre for Reputation Leadership is the owner of all the intellectual property rights of the images, texts, designs and any other content or elements of this product and has the necessary permission for its use, and therefore, its copy, distribution, public release or transformation is prohibited, without express authorization from the owner.

×