18th Mar 2018


A 'citizen scenario' for the future of Europe

  • Latest Eurobarometer survey shows 52 percent believe their voice does not count in the EU. (Photo: Lorie Shaull)

At the beginning of this year's state of the union address, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spoke of a "window of opportunity … to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe for 2025."

Revisiting the debate he started in March with the "Five scenarios for Europe by 2025", he set out his own "scenario six" for the future of Europe, combining elements of each of the original scenarios.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • President Juncker delivered his state of the union speech on 13 September. (Photo: European Commission)

Setting out a vision of freedom, equality and rule of law, president Juncker had positive words for the harmony, stability and democracy that would be welcome to a renewal of the European project, but missed out the key ingredient that is essential to the EU's legitimacy and sustainability - its citizens.

In fact, citizens have been missing from the future of Europe debate from the very beginning, despite the aim of the debate to "advance our project in the interests of our citizens".

Yet, digital technologies and platforms present a unique opportunity to transform the relationship between governors and the governed into more of a partnership and to build mechanisms of participatory democracy. For Europe, this means that the EU can become a collaborative project in which everyone has a voice.

Digital democracy has great potential to enhance the existing participatory mechanisms by drawing on the "wisdom of the crowd", tapping into hidden expertise and engaging those groups who participate least in democratic society - most notably young people.

Existing methods of e-participation in Europe - the European Citizens' Initiative, online public consultations and petitions to the European Parliament - are insufficient and must be improved.

In addition, the EU needs to learn from the plethora of e-participation and crowdsourcing methods being developed and implemented around the world.

If Paris can crowdsource part of its budget, Finland can implement successful citizens' initiatives and Latvia can regularly consult its citizens through a platform of Open Government, then why can't the EU?

Furthermore, the EU needs to build on the strong words president Juncker had for the significance of the rule of law in the EU.

The rights that are conferred onto EU citizens by their EU citizenship need to be effectively enforced and properly implemented.

Free movement of people is supported by 81 percent of EU citizens, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey, yet free movement rights are either being challenged or inadequately implemented across the EU.

President Juncker hinted at the need for a stronger connection between the policies, decisions and strategies that are formulated at EU level and the ideas, concerns and interests of EU citizens.

But undefined "democratic conventions" and transnational MEP lists in European elections, for which he expressed "support" and "sympathy" respectively are not enough.

The change in language is welcome, but the substance is not yet there.

Likewise, strong words on the rule of law need to be backed up by actions that guarantee EU citizens the rights they are entitled to by law.

As the latest Eurobarometer survey shows, trust in the EU stands at only 42 percent, 58 percent of Europeans have a negative view of it and 52 percent believe their voice does not count in the EU.

For these reasons, the future of Europe debate needs a 'citizen scenario' - a vision of a future in which the EU is truly a Union of its citizens.

European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) is an NGO empowering citizens and civil society within the European Union to exercise their rights and promoting open and inclusive decision-making.

Juncker calls for united EU under one leader

The Commission president wants his position to be merged with the presidency of the European Council, and for all EU states to be in the eurozone and Schengen by 2019, post-Brexit.

Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

Column / Brussels Bytes

EU e-privacy proposal risks breaking 'Internet of Things'

EU policymakers need to clarify that the e-privacy should not apply to most Internet of Things devices. The current proposal require explicit user consent in all cases - which is not practical.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  2. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  4. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  5. EUobserverNow Hiring! Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience
  6. EUobserverNow Hiring! Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience
  7. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  10. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections
  12. CECEIndustry Stakeholders Are Ready to Take the Lead in Digital Construction