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Crowdsourcing a new European democracy

Using e-participation to bridge the gap between people and politics

Netwerk Democratie organises the Dutch edition of the EUCROWD conference, looking into e-participation as a tool to engage citizens in European politics.

burgerparticipatie E-democracy New Democracy participatieve democratie
Photo credit: urbanbensci via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

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On the day of the Dutch national elections we question what other ways there are to bridge the gap between citizens and politics on a national as well as a European level. Many people feel let down by European institutions and their obscure decision-making processes. Having national consultations after law proposals have already been formulated, as in the case of the Ukraine referendum in The Netherlands, do not enhance trust in European politics. How can digital tools help citizens to have a more direct say about European policy-making? Could digital tools help to democratize the EU? During the EUCROWD conference, Netwerk Democratie invites you and a range of international and local democratic innovators to conceptualize what such a tool should look like.

The day will be split up into two connecting parts: we start with discussing the current state of affairs in regards to crowdsourcing platforms, after moving on to an interactive “World Café” table discussion.

PROGRAM

12:00 – 13:35: E-participation: the status quo
First we will look at different levels of crowdsourcing. What kind of platforms already exist to engage citizens in politics from the local to the European level?

 Elisa Lironi, Digital Democracy Manager at ECAS (European Citizen Action Service) will sketch the current situation of e-participation in the EU. Why is there a need for e-democracy on a European level and what has already been tried?
• Also on the national level large scale experiments have been done such as The People’s Assembly Rahvakogu in Estonia. Hille Hinsberg will show how an online platform was used to crowdsource new ideas and proposals to amend Estonia’s electoral laws, political party law and other issues related to the future of democracy in Estonia.
 Paul Isaris (Science For You, Greece) presents DemocracIT, which is an open-source, open-ended collaborative platform for commenting and annotating laws. The tool does not only reinforce citizen participation in law consultations, but also allows for smart analysis and organization of consultation comments.
But can European and national e-participation exist without a firm basis in the local context? May-Britt Jansen and Jeroen van Berkel of the OpenStadseel initiative within the municipality of Amsterdam will present how they have organized bottom-up participation on the level of the neighborhood by engaging both government and citizens with the use of e-tools.

13:35 -14:00: Coffee, tea and cookies

14:00 – 16:00: World Café discussion: raise your voice
How do you want to participate in the EU? At what moment in EU decision-making should crowdsourcing take place? How do we increase youth participation? What kind of tools should be used?

Take a seat at one of the tables and discuss these issues with fellow citizens and experts from amongst others Science For You (Greece), Democratic Society (U.K.) and the European Student Forum.