Building a permanent European Citizens Assembly (ECA) together

2022 Dec 2nd

Citizens in the Conference on the Future of Europe have called for regular citizen assemblies as a meaningful part of the EU policy process (plenary proposal 36.7).

To contribute to the discussion of how this should be achieved, Citizens Take Over Europe (CTOE) presents today – the day of the feedback event to the Conference-  a draft Blueprint for a European Citizens’ Assembly as the basis for a crowdsourced document to be further built collectively together in the next months, and as a stimulus for further transnational public debate on this ambitious democratic innovation we are aiming to.

All citizens are now invited to introduce comments directly in the document itself as well as sign up as a signatory of the blueprint (at the end of the document) to express your adhesion. 

As a coalition of more than 70 civil society organisations, one of the objectives of CTOE has been to  coordinate European civil society around our shared mission: to promote meaningful citizen participation in EU decision making.  This crowdsourced process to develop a strategic blueprint for a European Citizens’ Assembly (ECA) from below is part of CTOE’s overall philosophy (see the Manifesto for a European Citizens’ Assemblyto which we followed up with guidelines for ECA(s) and a preliminary critique version  of the blueprint).

This draft is based on collaborative work and responses to the ongoing survey, to which everyone is welcome to continue to respond.

In contrast to the currently proposed models of top-down citizens’ assemblies in the EU, our approach to citizen participation is premised on citizen-centred public discourses and deliberative democratic transnational practices.

To allow citizens to engage with this approach, our strategic blueprint seeks to avoid overly technical language and attempts to be widely open for discussion among citizens. We therefore call on citizens as well as European democratic civil society to contribute to this strategic effort: to reflect on their discursive practices, to re-conceptualise their role – actual and desired – in European democracy, and to imagine  citizens’ assemblies as democratic innovations that put novel, inclusive transnational democratic practices on the political stage. 

Ultimately, with this crowdsourced strategic blueprint we hope to demonstrate why and how the empowerment of European civil society matters for the project of institutionalizing a fully-fledged European Citizens’ Assembly that empowers European civil society and is a permanent asset of the future democracy in Europe.