FutureLab Europe’s fifth generation discussed its publication “Bring Back the Citizens! How to Revive Democratic Participation for a citizens-led Europe” with Antonio Silva Mendes, Director for Youth and Sport at DG Education and Culture in the European Commission and Sven Giegold, Member of the European Parliament.


The Europe@Debate discussed the challenges the EU is facing in connection with citizens’ disengagement and disillusion and explored the role of European political culture, technology, direct democracy mechanisms, civic education and transparency in reviving people’s participation and enthusiasm for the European project. The gap between citizens and governments, in fact, is widening. The last few years have seen alarmingly low levels in citizens’ electoral participation in many EU member states, including at the last European Parliament elections in 2014. The widespread lack of trust in national governments and European institutions have pushed citizens further away from traditional parties towards anti-systemic ones. Recent scandals such as the Panama Papers have only reinforced mistrust in a political class increasingly seen as remote and corrupt. Little has been done to regain citizens’ trust and attempts to strengthen citizens’ voices in the EU political arena, such as the European Citizens’ Initiative, have not delivered the desired results. What can be done to revert this trend? How can citizens be brought back to the centre-stage of policy-making? Can the EU be a trailblazer in promoting more participatory democracy? If yes, then how?

The young citizens of FutureLab Europe shared their ideas at this Europe@debate and two representatives of the programme, Ivo Visak and Simona Pronckutė, presented their policy recommendations and engage in a debate with panelists Antonio Silva Mendes and Sven Giegold. The event was moderated by Claire Dhéret, Programme Leader of FutureLab Europe and Senior Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre. A detailed report can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

During the event, we presented the results of our social media campaign #Iparticipate, have a look here. Check out also our storify to see how the debate went!


Download the publication