Introduction

CitizenCentral puts a spotlight on European citizens’ initiatives. In each episode, initiative organisers and supporters tell us why their initiative is important and how they experience raising awareness at EU level.

Our host, journalist Méabh Mc Mahon, also interviews different policy experts and academics to further explore the issues put forward by these initiatives. 

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Along the way, we learn more about the European Citizens’ Initiative process and gain tips from the point of view of organisers.   

CitizenCentral helps you discover what the European Citizens’ Initiative is and how this tool makes it possible to have a greater say in policies that affect your life. 

CitizenCentral podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and SoundCloud

The opinions expressed in the podcasts reflect solely the point of view of the speakers and can in no way be taken to reflect the position of the European Commission or of the European Union.

Episode show notes

Meet the people behind European citizens' initiatives below. 

5: Conscious consumers – meet Europeans fighting climate change in creative ways

Featuring ‘Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising and Sponsorship’ and 'European EcoScore’ ECIs 

In the fifth chapter of CitizenCentral we hear from Silvia Pastorelli and Antoine Thill – two organisers striving to help hold companies responsible and help consumers make sustainable choices – each in different ways. The Ban Fossil Fuel Ads initiative aims for an EU legislative act prohibiting advertisements for fossil fuels, including for road and water-borne transportation that is powered by fossil fuels. It takes inspiration from the ban on tobacco advertisement already in place across the EU and looks to make systemic change for the climate crisis. Meanwhile, organisers of the European EcoScore initiative want a compulsory label providing European consumers with transparent information about the environmental impact of products manufactured or sold in the EU.  

Both initiatives were registered and started signature collection in mid-2021 - listen to how it is going for them so far.  

4: Meet the Europeans trying to reclaim our faces and alleviate poverty across the continent 

Featuring ‘Reclaim Your Face’ and 'Start Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) throughout the EU’ ECIs 

In the fourth chapter of CitizenCentral we hear from Ella Jakubowska and Catarina Neves - discussing different ways to protect fundamental rights and reduce inequality across the EU. Reclaim Your Face - the Civil society initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance practices is trying to strictly regulate the use of biometric technologies in order to avoid undue interference with fundamental rights. The nuances in how people, companies and governments are using technology – and for what purposes and how this impacts our lives – get covered in this episode. The organisers of Start Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) throughout the EU want the European Commission to make a proposal for universal basic income throughout the EU, to improve the welfare for European citizens in all Member States. 

3: Hear the voices behind the European green wave

Featuring ‘Stop Finning – Stop the Trade’, ‘Green Garden Roof Tops’ and ‘Grow scientific progress: crops matter’ ECIs 

In the third chapter of CitizenCentral we hear from Nils Kluger, Almog Sade and Martina Helmlinger - covering environmental topics on land and in the sea. The Stop Finning - Stop the Trade citizens’ initiative aims to end the trade with shark fins within the EU. The Green Garden Roof Tops initiative – launched by two siblings and a group of friends – wants to use existing empty space on corporations’ rooftops to convert into green areas. We also hear from a Grow scientific progress: crops matter initiative organiser. The initiative closed in the summer of 2021, yet her reflections offer many tips for people wanting to work on an ECI.  

2: Power to the people - hear the voices who want to break down the borders in Europe

Featuring ‘Civil Servant Exchange Program’ and ‘Voters Without Borders’ ECIs 

In the second chapter of CitizenCentral we hear from Adam Mazoyer and Rosalie van den Brink as they discuss two European citizens’ initiatives focused on strengthening civic engagement in our communities. The Civil Servant Exchange Program (CSEP) aims to help civil servants learn from one another and better address transnational issues - from natural disasters to cybersecurity and beyond. The Voters Without Borders initiative makes a case for increasing the democratic rights of EU citizens who want to vote in national elections where they live. 

1: Welcome to CitizenCentral

Featuring ‘Fridays for Future’ and ‘Save Bees and Farmers’ ECIs 

Tune in to the first chapter of CitizenCentral to listen to Paula Reyes and Helmut Burtscher as they discuss two European citizens’ initiatives with signature collection periods ending in late-September 2021. ‘Actions on Climate Emergency’ (closing 23 September 2021) and ‘Save bees and Farmers! Towards a bee-friendly agriculture for a healthy environment’ (closing 30 September 2021) are two of the many citizens’ initiatives related to climate change and biodiversity over the years.