The European Union has recognised that citizens are not sufficiently involved or empowered in its governance—how can we solve this problem? Today, ahead of President Von Der Leyen’s 2023 State of the Union address on 13 September, the prestigious European University Institute co-publishes a paper with DemocracyNext by four leading experts which offers a blueprint for a solution: establish the EU Citizens’ Assembly (EUCA) to share power with the other three institutions of the European Council, Commission, and Parliament.
After all, “a new push for democracy” is one of the European Commission’s self-declared top priorities for this coming year. This needs to be more than lip service. Unless citizens are given genuine agency and voice in deciding the big issues facing us in this age of turbulence, the authors argue, we will have lost the global battle in defence of democracy. The foundation has been laid for the EUCA with the success of lottery-selected EU Citizens’ Panels during the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as those initiated by the European Commission over the past year, but more work must be done.
In the paper, the authors explain why such an assembly is needed, then suggest how it could be designed and developed in an iterative fashion, operated, and what powers it could have in the EU system. “In a broader context of democratic crisis and green, digital, and geopolitical transitions, we need to open up our imaginations to radical political change… Political and technocratic elites must start giving up some control and allow for a modicum of self-determination by citizens,” the authors say.
We are proud to partner with EUI on the authorship and release of this paper; the authors are EUI research associate Carsten Berg, DemocracyNext Founder/CEO and former OECD analyst Claudia Chwalisz, EUI Professor of International Relations and Chair in Global Affairs at the School of Transnational Governance Kalypso Nicolaidis, and Paris 8 University political scientist Yves Sintomer.
To read a summary of the paper, click here.
To download the full paper, click here.