FutureLab Europe’s Manifesto 2016 – Reviving democracy for a citizens-led Europe

29. March 2016

futurelab-europe_manifesto_englishThe past few years have not been easy ones for democracy in Europe. Alarmingly low levels of electoral participation have been registered in many EU member states, including at the latest European elections of May 2014, which registered the lowest voter turnout on record, with an all-time low of 42.54%. In many EU member states – such as Greece, France, Spain, Slovakia and Italy – anti systemic, populist parties have emerged strong and powerful. Poland and Hungary’s illiberal turn poses an additional threat to democracy on our continent.

Widespread lack of trust in national governments and European institutions, the rise of Euroscepticism as well as low levels of participation in European and national democratic processes are three of the most prominent challenges to democracy on the European continent. The EU, national governments and citizens themselves must take action, addressing the root causes of European societies’ disengagement in democratic processes.

Concerned about these developments, FutureLab Europe’s fifth generation wrote a Manifesto calling for concrete measures to address the root causes of these European malaises by bridging the gap between citizens and decision makers. These are the steps that we consider necessary for such a major rethink, in which the EU will play a central role:

  • Foster a truly European political culture
  • Leverage technology for a genuine European participatory democracy
  • Develop and scale-up instruments of direct democracy
  • Combat corruption and fight for transparency to restore trust in the institutions
  • Encourage EU member states to invest in education to promote informed participation

We believe that another form of democracy based on citizens’ active participation is possible and in order to engage as many citizens as possible in a discussion around our manifesto and democratic participation, we launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #iParticipate.

Many people endorsed our Manifesto by sharing it on Twitter and Facebook and took part in the discussion sharing their messages on social media. The answers were many and covered a variety of topics: (i) many stressed the importance to participate to influence policy-making; (ii) others stressed that they wanted to have a role in shaping the EU; (iii) ome emphasised the role of citizens as the fundamental cornerstone of democracy; (iv) last but not least, other citizens contributed to the campaign stating the importance to participate in order to protect fundamental rights. More detailed results can be found on our storify here.

FutureLab Europe’s fifth generation presented its manifesto and Spring Publication, including input from social media, to high level EU policy makers in Brussels on April 22, 2016. While the social media campaign is currently finished, the discussion is not over yet! Engage with FutureLab Europe on Twitter and/or Facebook and make your voice heard!

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