How can the perceived democratic deficit of the European Union and its institutional set-up be bridged? What role should the EU play in safeguarding democratic standards in its Member States? What can and should the EU do as a democracy promoter in its neighbourhood and in the world? These questions will be discussed from a Green perspective in this GEF transnational seminar.
The democratic nature of institutions and decision making processes at EU level has repeatedly been challenged by many. The economic crisis has generated a drive for quick decisions, and again its democratic legitimacy is being questioned. The interventions of the Troika in crisis stricken countries have raised serious questions of democratic legitimacy and sovereignty. This has not helped change the perception of “Brussels” as a distant, not transparent labyrinth of power and hidden interests suffering from an often quoted democratic deficit. At the same time, the past years saw several governments at national levels infringing on democratic standards in Member States. And last but not least, the last years brought to the forefront the fight of people in the European neighbourhood for the freedom and democracy of their states, as shown by the Arab uprising, and most recently by developments in Ukraine.
In this context, this seminar aims to discuss questions related to European democracy at various levels. First, we aim to look into democracy and legitimacy questions at the EU level of politics and discuss the Green solutions to make the EU more legitimate in the eyes of EU citizens. How can the crisis of confidence in the EU be bridged? Secondly, we will tackle the question of what the EU can do to safeguard democratic standards within its Member States. Finally, we would like to discuss the role of the EU as a democracy promoter in the world.
If you are interested in the debate on European democracy and would like to exchange your views, share ideas and network with Green activists from other countries, then apply to participate in this two day seminar!
About the seminar
The seminar will take place on 6-7 June 2014 in Brussels (two full working days). The Green European Foundation will fully reimburse the travel costs of participants and will cover the costs of accommodation and meals throughout the seminar, in exchange of a participation fee of 100 euro (for students/unemployed: 60 euro).
Topic-wise, the seminar develops around 3 core areas:
democracy at EU level (EU democratic deficit; direct democracy – the ECI; the role of lobbies in decision making; Green proposals for furthering EU democracy);
democracy in EU Member States (safeguarding democratic principles in Member States: pre-accession instruments; instruments for Member States; monitoring corruption); and
the role of the EU as a democracy promoter in the world (European Neighbourhood Policy – with case studies from the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood; EEAS; EIDHR).
A detailed agenda of the seminar will be available shortly.
Apply to participate
We are currently looking for 25 participants interested in taking part in this seminar. Ideally, participants should:
Have a general interest in European Union politics and a basic knowledge about how the EU works
Have a particular interest in and knowledge of democracy related issues
Be open to group discussions and participation in various group debates
Have a level of English which will allow them to participate in the debates and benefit of the inputs
Be communicative, open-minded, eager to learn from each other’s experiences
Be willing to do a small assignment for the preparation of the seminar before the seminar itself
Be involved in Green activism (young greens, green-minded NGOs, green parties etc) at local, regional or national level.
Come from a state that is member of the Council of Europe and has a Green organisation member of the European Green Party.
Be able to attend the entire two days of the seminar
Gender and regional balance will be taken into account when selecting the participants.
How to apply?
The deadline for applications is April 27th (midnight, CET). Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
For any questions related to the content of the seminar or the application, please contact Adria Belenguer Sòria at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 6-7 June 2014
Venue: Brussels, Belgium