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Time to campaign for a new democratic convention

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Time to campaign for a new democratic convention


From 12 to 15 October 2013 young people of Democracy International held a strategy seminar in Brussels to set up the framework of a campaign for a more democratic EU, including a new EU convention  and referendums in the EU Member States.

During the seminar participants had the opportunity to analyze and discuss the democratic deficit in Europe. Together with Gerald Häfner (chairperson of Democracy International and MEP) they explored best practices and mechanisms for strengthening citizens’ participation and direct democracy in the EU. Additionally, the young people, many of them in Brussels for the first time, participated in a tour around the EU institutions. Close to the European buildings, where important decisions are taken on behalf of half a million of EU citizens, they realised the distance between their own lives and the EU and the lack of opportunities to influence EU policies.  
Gerald Häfner, chairperson of Democracy International speakingEvery five years people elect the European parliament, but these elections are often seen as a second-hand vote, related to national parties' competition. After the elections people do not feel close enough to the political groups formed in the European parliament, or the decisions taken on a daily basis within the EU. The only one directly elected EU institution has also no direct right to initiate legislation by its own. The European Commission that has this responsibility is surrounded by lobby groups. Voter's turnout of the elections, raising nationalism and euroscepticism are only some of the negative tendencies we are witnesses of. We need a Europe built by citizens' participation and democracy. A democratic EU and a campaign towards it, are the main goals that participants set to pursue next year around the next EU elections scheduled for May 2014. In this view, they created an activity plan including networking with other organizations in different countries, action days, and international debates.

     - Gerald Häfner at the seminar - 
"We want to start a campaign that will bring about dialogue and that will lead to a Europe of the citizens. We call upon the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the governments of the member states to convene a Convention - according to Article 48 of the EU Treaty. This Convention should be transparent and open towards civil society. It should lead to treaty reforms, that will be further voted upon in European-wide referendums", said Armin Steuernagel, treasurer of Democracy International and the leading figure of the campaign.
"The European integration has always been driven by political elites. It is time for a change! People's voices should be heard and taken into consideration. Inside the Federation of Young European Greens we also support the idea for a European Youth Convention as a way to ensure that young people will be included in building the future of Europe", added Krassina Demireva, co-spokesperson of the Federation of Young European Greens and a participant at the event.

Democracy International, the global coalition for democracy, invites everybody to participate in the campaign for a more democratic EU. Please find more information at www.more-democracy-in-europe.org and www.democracy-international.org

Text by Krassina Demireva



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