40 participants from several European countries gathered in Berlin. The locality was the Representation of the European Commission near the Brandenburg Gate.
Gerald Häfner (Mehr Demokratie) gave a short introduction emphasizing the necessity of citizens’ participation in Europe. Subsequent to him Bruno Kaufmann (IRI Europe) explained the transnational reality of direct democracy in Europe.
Three parts followed this with speakers from different countries:
1. Direct Democracy in the Central European Countries: Lessons for the European Union
The reality of initiatives and referendum in 6 European countries and regions (Germany, Italy, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol) was explained.
2. Direct Democracy and the European Union
The development of the European Constitution and the proposed solutions were evaluated. Andy Gross presented also the role of direct democracy in this process.
3. Direct Democracy and the future of Europe
Democracy International presented two proposals to the actual debate. Carsten Berg presented our idea to introduce the European Citizens’ Initiative and Percy Rohde explained the call for a new convention.
In addition, Prof. Lauth exposed a systematic approach to evaluate the quality of democracy in different European countries. He has therefore developed a matrix of democracy presenting 15 criteria for measuring.
The next Initiative for Europe – A Citizen’s Agenda conference will be held in Barcelona (23-24 February 2006) and the final one in Brussels (23-24 March 2006).