We, the Citizens:
How to Let Europeans Participate in Future Treaty Changes

09 april 2014

part 1 - original version

part 2 - original version


Europe has still not managed to tackle the roots of the economic crisis looming about the continent for over 5 years now. EU leaders and institutions have done even less to tackle the crisis of confidence towards the Union’s common policies and institutions. Without the support of the citizens, however, it is impossible to build a functioning and sustainable economic government for the EU that is capable to ensure lasting prosperity for all. The only proper way out of this deadlock would be a new Treaty prepared in an intensive public deliberation to gain the broadest possible acceptance by Europe's citizens.

The best way to do this would be to organise a European Convention which would discuss proposals for a treaty revision and a pan-European Referendum on its outcome. However, bad memories of the failed first attempt to create an EU-Constitution warn us to plan and prepare this process carefully. The goal is to ensure a maximum legitimacy and support for the new Treaty through a democratic, transparent and inclusive process.

During this conference, we want to look at different models for citizens’ participation in a future European Convention and the related broad political/constitutional debates and will discuss the best ways of successfully organising a European Referendum for the approval of the suggested Treaty changes. We want to analyse these issues with the help of legal experts, democracy campaigners and green activists, based on experience gained with citizen participation on regional and national level in Europe.


9:45 - Session 1: Citizen participation in the European Convention

Chair: Gerald Häfner, MEP

  • Heather Grabbe (Open Society Institute Brussels, t.b.c.)
  • François Lafond (EuropaNova)
  • Anna Lodeserto (European Alternatives)
  • Roderick Parkes (Polish Institute for International Affairs)
  • Paolo Ponzano (EUI Florence)

11:15 - Session 2: Organising a pan-European Referendum

Chair: Gerald Häfner, MEP

  • Ben J. Crum (Univ. Amsterdam)
  • John-Eric Fossum (ARENA Oslo)
  • Bruno Kaufmann (IRI, t.b.c.)
  • Ulrike Liebert (Univ. Bremen)