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EU citizens take an active role in designing the new Europe as it will come out of the current economic and financial crisis.
150 citizens from across the 27 EU Member States met top policy-makers in Brussels today to hand over their recommendations on how to tackle the economic and social challenges facing Europe. This “Citizens’ Summit” is the culmination of the first phase of the 2009 European Citizens’ Consultations, a sussessful experience involving some 250,000 online users and 1,600 people representing a cross section of EU societies.
Summit particpants were welcomed byMargot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of Inter-institutional Relations and Communication Strategy.
“Citizen Participation is a vital tool for democracy”, she told the audience. “It is a policy instrument for the future; a vibrant and necessary part of 21st century democracy. Today’s Citizens’ Summit shows that we can bring the EU closer to the people and people closer to the EU. Whether president or plumber, minister or manufacturer, all Europeans can influence and contribute to better European policies in a more accountable Union!”
Spanning from calls for wide-ranging measures to boost Europe’s economy, tougher supervision of financial markets, more focused spending on research and innovation, and increased investment in sustainable energy, the policy recommendations that were presented at the Citizens’ Summit are the outome of a selection process initiated by the 1,600 citizens who took part in national debates in all 27 Member States to select their respective top 15 priorities. Other issues raised included the fight against poverty, promoting a better work/life balance, and action on education.
The second phase of the European Citizens’ Consultations will focus on disseminating the results and discussing the citizens’ recommendations with a wider audience, with a particular focus on the MEPs newly elected in June 2009, through a series of regional events which will take place in five countries between September and December 2009
The European Citizens’ Consultations are conducted by a consortium of more than 40 European partner organisations, led by the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF), and co-funded by the European Commission under its “Debate Europe” programme.