Alexander Damiano Ricci* , for VoxEurop
Within this unique public consultation organised by Civico Europa, millions of European citizens have proposed their solutions for reinventing Europe and voted on others to express their priorities. The environment and democracy are on the top.
The consultation, which goes under the name “WeEuropeans”, aims at pinpointing a set of concrete policy proposals for lawmakers across Europe through a bottom-up process. More specifically, citizens of 27 Member States were invited to register through an online platform and answer the following question: “What are the concrete steps we can take to reinvent Europe?”.
Through the online consultation, citizens could both, propose and vote, policy proposals, linked, for instance, to topics such as environment, democracy and institutions, social policies, taxation and education.
As of mid-March Civico Europa claims that the consultation involved more than 1.5 million EU citizens and gathered more than 9 million votes. The total number of proposals equals 30,000.
If the overall number of proposals is considered, “democratic” and “environmental” concerns stand out as the most meaningful to citizens who took part in the consultation.
However, national-specific concerns also emerge. For instance, “consumption and consumer protection” appears to be of little relevance to many participants; yet, three of the top 10 proposals voted by German citizens can be associated with this category.
To shed light on these cross-country differences, in figure 1 we display the number of proposals linked to a given category and, at the same time, within the most voted proposals of each country. The order of themes within the drop-down menu follows a descending order, according to the overall (EU-wide) number of proposals linked to the given topic.
Although not statistically representative of European citizens’ views on the priorities of the European Union, the map could hint at potential policy priorities in different countries of the EU. The top 10 policy proposal relatively to each country can be checked on the website of WeEuropeans.eu.
On the 22nd of March, some European citizens who took part in the consultation gathered in the European Parliament and presented the most voted policy proposals to MEPs.
Likewise, this Citizen Agenda will be shared with national and European leaders on the occasion of the European Council of the 9th of May, in Sibiu, Romania.
The “WeEuropeans” poll
The 10 most voted proposals and their authors
1.We should set up a European-wide recycling programme. Raw materials should be reused and not destroyed. – Mary (Netherlands)
2.We should ban those who have committed crimes (e.g. tax evasion) from working in public sectors or running for elected positions in Europe – Alessandro (Italy)
3.We should protect all forests with good management and we need to rebuild deciduous forest. We need to plant five trees for each one felled. – Anna (Ireland)
4.We should stop tax breaks for multinational corporations. Taxes should be paid in the country where the profits are generated. – Jules (Belgium)
5.We should invest in education and research. – Gheorghe-Adrian (Romania)
6.We should protect workers’ rights in all EU countries. – Adriani (Greece)
7.We should coordinate the chemical restrictions, especially in the food industry. – Reinhold (Sweden)
8.We should support renewable energy projects in cities. – Birute (Lithuania)
9.We should have clear and transparent information about all the projects and agreements in the European Union. – Salvador (Spain)
10.We should ensure that every EU citizen can get medical care in any EU country with a European Health Card. – Nadejda (Bulgaria). 22 March 2019
*Alexander Damiano Ricci is a German-Italian freelancer based in Rome. This article is published in association with the European Data Journalism Network.