Citizens at the heart of EU policies
People should be at the centre of EU policies. A representative deliberative process model, giving the possibility to a small group representing the population and reflecting societal diversity to provide recommendation to the public authority on a public problem, could help reach this goal.
This model exists in the EU since 1980s, but needs to be improved in a more continuous, institutionalised way in the global EU political system. The expectations of EU politicians concerning these assemblies should be clarified and it should be defined how to avoid the fact that citizens feel the EU to be unresponsive. In this regard, media could play a role. Representative deliberation can have a strong and visible role at local and regional level. Different models can be put in place, according to needs.
Even if a representative deliberative process doesn't aim to replace the classical politic way of working, it can be seen as an additional solution to reinforce citizens' role.
Take away message
Representative deliberative processes can help put citizens at the heart of EU politics. To make it work, the process should be clearly defined and understood by EU citizens. Expectations from EU politicians need to be clear and the follow up of the recommendations provided should be mandatory in order to avoid people having the feeling that the EU is not responsive.
Yves Dejaeghere: "Media will be very important. If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make noise? If a citizens' assembly gathers but the media pays it no attention, it will be very difficult to make other citizens see this is happening".