01 Sep 2005

A Citizens Compact

Reaching out to the Citizens of Europe

Members of the EPIN Network

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EPIN Working Paper No. 1, 10 pages

How can the deadlock after the ‘no’ to the European Constitutional Treaty in France and the Netherlands be overcome? What should be the aim of the ‘period of reflection’ that has been agreed by the European Council?

The authors of this paper propose the adoption of a ‘Citizens Compact’, which should directly address the larger malaise among citizens that underlies the Constitutional crisis. It should contribute to the reduction of the EU’s democratic deficit without treaty reform. The following measures should be envisaged:

    • National parliaments should participate more strongly in the controversies on core European issues through earlier and intensive debates about EU initiatives.
    • Every six months governments should explain their positions on the priorities of the EU-presidency in their national parliaments.
    • EU-actors (MEPs, Commissioners and top officials) should participate more intensively in national debates about European issues and contribute to a better understanding of the European political processes among citizens.
    • National governments should regularly publish information bulletins about the latest EU initiatives and –decisions.
    • Public fora about European issues should be established in every member state with speakers coming from national politics, from the EU level and other member states as well as representatives from civil society.
    • Uncontroversial elements of the Constitutional Treaty that strengthen EU democracy could already be adopted through inter-institutional agreements.
    • A White Paper on the establishment of a ‘European Democratic and Civic Space’ in the EU should be elaborated.
    • In the future important legislative acts should contain an impact assessment of the consequences on citizens’ lives.