Conference on the Future of Europe: IFOK‘s Contribution to the Debate

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Conceptualizing meaningful citizen participation for the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe: IFOK identifies success factors

Discussions about the Conference on the Future of Europe – as proposed last summer by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission – are in progress. Questions concerning the organisation of the debate and the role of European citizens are being discussed among the EU institutions and beyond.
In the past weeks, both the European Parliament and the Commission have discussed and presented their respective approaches to the time schedule, organisation and possible discussion topics of the Conference. The European Council is working on a joint position as well.
We are delighted to see the EU institutions’ joint initiative on visions for the future of Europe, developed in the context of a broad process of consultation and discussion. The European Union can only become stronger and face future challenges if joint discussions and goal-orientated debates are an accepted part of the decision-making process.
However, the approaches currently under consideration leave several questions unanswered. How are citizen participation and the Conference to be interlinked? How can we ensure the meaningful participation of European citizens? What will happen with the results of the Conference? These questions merit thoughtful consideration.

Four Success Factors for Meaningful Citizen Participation

In the attached paper, IFOK GmbH elaborates on four factors for a successful and results-driven Conference – based on our 25 years’ experience of conceptualising, designing, steering and implementing participatory and co-creative processes:

  • Climbing up the ladder of participation: the optimal linkage between citizens and Conference;
  • Open dialogue and constructive deliberation: a synced mix of online and offline participation formats;
  • Non-partisan and efficient steering: setting up a process advisory board and a coordination office; and
  • Turning output into outcome: clear and transparent feedback mechanisms.

The paper is published by IFOK and co-signed by partners from other European member states, all of whom having acquired profound experience in citizen consultation.

For more information please read IFOK’s contribution to the debate: Strengthening Europe through Meaningful Participation.

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