Let’s create a Eurozone sovereign wealth fund to promote investments, growth and more!

Let’s create a Eurozone sovereign wealth fund to promote investments, growth and more!

  Launched by Riccardo Parra.

Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned investment funds that offer a variety of benefits to citizens. A sovereign wealth fund for the Eurozone, modeled on the successful example of Norway, could improve the spending capacity of the EU, encourage economic growth and promote cohesion.

   Join 2 other Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

As has been repeatedly shown, sovereign wealth funds amplify states’ spending capacity without the negative effects associated with cutting back services and increasing fiscal pressure. We are now ready to create a sovereign wealth fund for the Eurozone modeled on the example of Norway.

The sovereign fund should be managed by the Eurogroup according to the best interest of the Eurozone. It should aim to ensure long-term sustainability, comply with planet-friendly policies, exemplify fair distribution of profits and promote the development of all parts of the Eurozone. The quality of life of all present EU citizens, as well as that of future generations of Europeans, should be considered the fund’s guiding principle.

As a result, transport infrastructure could be improved to allow for the fastest, cheapest and most reliable connections between member states. Public schools and healthcare facilities could be upgraded to the highest standards, so that every EU citizen, no matter his place of residence, can receive top-notch education and medical treatment.

While some funds could support public-housing programmes to decrease homelessness, promotion of entrepreneurship is an equally pressing concern. Students must be equipped with the skills needed to become entrepreneurs and their projects must be supported in our modern competitive environment. Finally, revenue could be used to improve pensions as Norway is doing, and for many other purposes besides the ones listed.

  THIS IS WHERE OUR SUPPORTERS COME FROM
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

Let’s create a Eurozone sovereign wealth fund to promote investments, growth and more!

  Launched by Riccardo Parra.

Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned investment funds that offer a variety of benefits to citizens. A sovereign wealth fund for the Eurozone, modeled on the successful example of Norway, could improve the spending capacity of the EU, encourage economic growth and promote cohesion.

   Join 2 other Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

As has been repeatedly shown, sovereign wealth funds amplify states’ spending capacity without the negative effects associated with cutting back services and increasing fiscal pressure. We are now ready to create a sovereign wealth fund for the Eurozone modeled on the example of Norway.

The sovereign fund should be managed by the Eurogroup according to the best interest of the Eurozone. It should aim to ensure long-term sustainability, comply with planet-friendly policies, exemplify fair distribution of profits and promote the development of all parts of the Eurozone. The quality of life of all present EU citizens, as well as that of future generations of Europeans, should be considered the fund’s guiding principle.

As a result, transport infrastructure could be improved to allow for the fastest, cheapest and most reliable connections between member states. Public schools and healthcare facilities could be upgraded to the highest standards, so that every EU citizen, no matter his place of residence, can receive top-notch education and medical treatment.

While some funds could support public-housing programmes to decrease homelessness, promotion of entrepreneurship is an equally pressing concern. Students must be equipped with the skills needed to become entrepreneurs and their projects must be supported in our modern competitive environment. Finally, revenue could be used to improve pensions as Norway is doing, and for many other purposes besides the ones listed.

  THIS IS WHERE OUR SUPPORTERS COME FROM
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

Szavazni fogok!

Szavazni fogok!

  Kezdeményező Európai Parlament.

A Szavazni Fogok kampány célja, hogy összehozzuk azokat a magyar polgárokat, akik számára fontos, hogy minél többen elmenjenek szavazni az európai parlamenti választások idején!

  356 polgártársad támogatja már ezt a kezdeményezést!

   MIÉRT TÁMOGASD EZT A KEZDEMÉNYEZÉST?

Európaiként egyre több kihívással szembesülünk: foglalkoznunk kell többek között a migráció, a klímaváltozás, a fiatalok munkanélkülisége és az adatvédelem kérdésével. Egyre inkább globalizált, versenyorientált világban élünk. Ugyanakkor a Brexitről szóló népszavazás rávilágított arra, hogy az EU nem egy visszafordíthatatlan projekt. És bár legtöbbünk természetesnek veszi a demokráciát, úgy tűnik, elvi és gyakorlati értelemben is egyre inkább veszélyben van.

Ezért kezdtünk a Szavazni fogok, egy támogatói közösség építésébe. Szeretnénk, ha közösen dolgoznánk azért, hogy minél többen részt vegyenek az európai választásokon. Nem az a célunk, hogy megmondjuk, kire szavazzanak az emberek, hanem hogy magára a voksolásra, a demokratikus folyamatban való részvételre buzdítsunk, valamint arra, hogy ez tudatos és tájékozott módon történjen. Szeretnénk kihasználni a személyes beszélgetések erejét és szerte Európában felépíteni egy olyan támogatói közösséget, amely kiáll a szavazás, ezáltal maga a demokrácia ügye mellett. Hiszen mi mindannyian, közösen döntjük el, hogy milyen Európában szeretnénk élni.

Mert itt az ideje, hogy ne csak reménykedjünk egy jobb jövőben, hanem tegyünk is érte.

  EZEK A SZERVEZETEK TÁMOGATJÁK A KEZDEMÉNYEZÉST

Szavazni fogok!

  Kezdeményező Európai Parlament.

A Szavazni Fogok kampány célja, hogy összehozzuk azokat a magyar polgárokat, akik számára fontos, hogy minél többen elmenjenek szavazni az európai parlamenti választások idején!

  356 polgártársad támogatja már ezt a kezdeményezést!

   MIÉRT TÁMOGASD EZT A KEZDEMÉNYEZÉST?

Európaiként egyre több kihívással szembesülünk: foglalkoznunk kell többek között a migráció, a klímaváltozás, a fiatalok munkanélkülisége és az adatvédelem kérdésével. Egyre inkább globalizált, versenyorientált világban élünk. Ugyanakkor a Brexitről szóló népszavazás rávilágított arra, hogy az EU nem egy visszafordíthatatlan projekt. És bár legtöbbünk természetesnek veszi a demokráciát, úgy tűnik, elvi és gyakorlati értelemben is egyre inkább veszélyben van.

Ezért kezdtünk a Szavazni fogok, egy támogatói közösség építésébe. Szeretnénk, ha közösen dolgoznánk azért, hogy minél többen részt vegyenek az európai választásokon. Nem az a célunk, hogy megmondjuk, kire szavazzanak az emberek, hanem hogy magára a voksolásra, a demokratikus folyamatban való részvételre buzdítsunk, valamint arra, hogy ez tudatos és tájékozott módon történjen. Szeretnénk kihasználni a személyes beszélgetések erejét és szerte Európában felépíteni egy olyan támogatói közösséget, amely kiáll a szavazás, ezáltal maga a demokrácia ügye mellett. Hiszen mi mindannyian, közösen döntjük el, hogy milyen Európában szeretnénk élni.

Mert itt az ideje, hogy ne csak reménykedjünk egy jobb jövőben, hanem tegyünk is érte.

  EZEK A SZERVEZETEK TÁMOGATJÁK A KEZDEMÉNYEZÉST

This time I’m voting!

This time I’m voting!

  Launched by The European Parliament.

This time I’m voting is a peer-to-peer mobilisation campaign, which brings together a community of people, united by European values, that work together to convince others to vote in the European elections.

   Join 356 other Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

As Europeans, we face many challenges, from migration to climate change, from youth unemployment to data privacy. We live in an ever more globalised, competitive world. At the same time, the Brexit referendum has demonstrated that the EU is not an irrevocable project. And while most of us take democracy for granted, it also seems under increasing threat, both in principle and practice.

That’s why we have started building a community of supporters to help encourage a higher voter turnout at the European elections. Our goal is not to tell people who they should vote for: it is to promote the act of voting itself, the act of engaging in the democratic process; and the act of doing so in a conscious and fully informed way. We want to harness the power of human interaction and build a community of supporters across Europe to rally behind the cause of voting and to stand up for the very idea of democracy. Together decide what kind of Europe we want to live in.

Because this time it’s not enough to hope for a better future: this time each and every one of us must take responsibility for it too.

The platform where it all takes place is called .

  These organisations support this cause
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

This time I’m voting!

  Launched by The European Parliament.

This time I’m voting is a peer-to-peer mobilisation campaign, which brings together a community of people, united by European values, that work together to convince others to vote in the European elections.

   Join 356 other Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

As Europeans, we face many challenges, from migration to climate change, from youth unemployment to data privacy. We live in an ever more globalised, competitive world. At the same time, the Brexit referendum has demonstrated that the EU is not an irrevocable project. And while most of us take democracy for granted, it also seems under increasing threat, both in principle and practice.

That’s why we have started building a community of supporters to help encourage a higher voter turnout at the European elections. Our goal is not to tell people who they should vote for: it is to promote the act of voting itself, the act of engaging in the democratic process; and the act of doing so in a conscious and fully informed way. We want to harness the power of human interaction and build a community of supporters across Europe to rally behind the cause of voting and to stand up for the very idea of democracy. Together decide what kind of Europe we want to live in.

Because this time it’s not enough to hope for a better future: this time each and every one of us must take responsibility for it too.

The platform where it all takes place is called .

  These organisations support the cause
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

Let’s build the EU together: take part in La Conférence Olivaint’s consultation!

Let’s build the EU together: take part in La Conférence Olivaint’s consultation!

  Launched by La Conférence Olivaint.

We are inviting all citizens to speak out about their future and to think together about ways we can build a brighter common future. Let’s take up, together, the great challenges of the 21st century and gather around a positive European agenda!

   Join some other 13 Europeans supporting this cause.

This page is also available in: Français.

 WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT THIS CAUSE?

This year, as the European parliamentary elections are approaching, we have decided to structure a project “Europe” sponsored by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets, Mr. Jean Arthuis and the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the French National Assembly, Mrs. Marielle de Sarnez. This project aims to encourage debate between citizens on core European topics along with key actors such as Pierre Moscovici, Eva Joly and Philippe Oddo in order to generate in-depth reflection. It is to allow for this reflection that we have the honor of working with Talos in order to invite each citizen to speak out on their future and to reflect on the ways we can make our common future brighter. Let’s overcome, together, the great challenges of the 21st century and let’s gather around a positive European agenda.

La Conférence Olivaint asks for your help to take part in the following civic input process:

1) Collect
First, we are collecting your opinions and ideas on Talos on topics such as the Euro, agriculture, free trade, youth mobility, and the environment.
2) Analyze
We analyze your answers with great care. We would like to receive answers from a diverse set of respondents in order to draw an accurate picture of the population.
3) Draw insights
The third step consists in drawing insights: from our analyses, we note the main divergences in opinion, the most relevant points made and the most innovative ideas proposed on Talos.
4) Propose
Once the consultation is summarised into key points, we will design policy proposals in line with the propositions and ideas shared by citizens. We will look at the feasibility and the implications of each proposal in order to build a relevant, impactful and positive policy agenda.
5) Improve

For the consultation to be truly impactful, we will be proposing the policy recommendations we drew from your answers to Members of European Parliament. This way, constructive ideas generated directly from citizens will be put onto the political agenda.

  THIS IS WHERE OUR SUPPORTERS COME FROM
  These organisations support this cause
  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS CAUSE? DEBATE AND DISCUSS IT!

Let’s build the EU together: take part in La Conférence Olivaint’s consultation!

  Launched by La Conférence Olivaint.

We are inviting all citizens to speak out about their future and to think together about ways we can build a brighter common future. Let’s take up, together, the great challenges of the 21st century and gather around a positive European agenda!

   Join some other 13 Europeans supporting this cause.

This page is also available in: Français.

   WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT THIS CAUSE?

This year, as the European parliamentary elections are approaching, we have decided to structure a project “Europe” sponsored by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets, Mr. Jean Arthuis and the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the French National Assembly, Mrs. Marielle de Sarnez. This project aims to encourage debate between citizens on core European topics along with key actors such as Pierre Moscovici, Eva Joly and Philippe Oddo in order to generate in-depth reflection. It is to allow for this reflection that we have the honor of working with Talos in order to invite each citizen to speak out on their future and to reflect on the ways we can make our common future brighter. Let’s overcome, together, the great challenges of the 21st century and let’s gather around a positive European agenda.

La Conférence Olivaint asks for your help to take part in the following civic input process:

1) Collect
First, we are collecting your opinions and ideas on Talos on topics such as the Euro, agriculture, free trade, youth mobility, and the environment.
2) Analyze
We analyze your answers with great care. We would like to receive answers from a diverse set of respondents in order to draw an accurate picture of the population.
3) Draw insights
The third step consists in drawing insights: from our analyses, we note the main divergences in opinion, the most relevant points made and the most innovative ideas proposed on Talos.
4) Propose
Once the consultation is summarised into key points, we will design policy proposals in line with the propositions and ideas shared by citizens. We will look at the feasibility and the implications of each proposal in order to build a relevant, impactful and positive policy agenda.
5) Improve
For the consultation to be truly impactful, we will be proposing the policy recommendations we drew from your answers to Members of European Parliament. This way, constructive ideas generated directly from citizens will be put onto the political agenda.
 This is where our supporters come from
  These organisations support the cause
  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS CAUSE? DEBATE AND DISCUSS IT!

Talos becomes European Parliament “Partner for the 2019 European Elections”.

Talos becomes European Parliament “Partner for the 2019 European Elections”.

Talos is honoured to announce that we have become the European Parliament’s “Partner for the 2019 European Elections”! This invitation was issued because currently, out of all the civil society organization within our European Union, Talos recruited the largest number of EU Member State citizens to sign up for the European Parliament’s “This Time I’m Voting Campaign”!

Essentially, the aim of this non-partisan, institutional campaign is to increase voter turnout for our next European Parliamentary elections, to be held between the 23rd to the 26th of May, 2019. Launched at the 2018 European Youth Event (EYE2018), the campaign encourages EU Member State citizens to pledge to vote in the run-up to the elections. Having attended EYE2018, Talos decided to endorse the campaign, and won a campaign competition through our contributions, for which we have now been officially recognised.

We, as Talos, wholeheartedly subscribe to the aim of the campaign, as we are a civil society organisation with a mission: “to foster European civicism through encouraging political participation”. Our online platform was created specifically as a positive reaction to what we see as an ongoing problem of civic disengagement and political disenchantment across our European Union. As such, we wholeheartedly welcome our European Parliament’s “This time I’m voting” campaign. We believe that it is our duty to support this cause that will hopefully motivate more EU citizens to exercise their right to vote. Thus, we are proud to announce this official partnership between our European Parliament and Talos – we will do all we can on our part to encourage our fellow EU Member State citizens to pledge that this time, they will vote.

To find out more about the “This time I’m voting” campaign, click here.

European Citizens’ Assembly

European Citizens’ Assembly

In the light of the upcoming European elections of 2019 European capitals (and especially Brussels) are gripped by one fear in particular: will voter turnout continue its decline? Five years ago only 42,62% of the population cast their ballot, while in Slovakia only 13% decided to vote. This reflects a disconnection between citizens and the representatives of our people. Many ideas have emerged on how to increase participation, but most experts agree on the notion that the EU is perceived as distant and complicated. The odd headline-grabbing EU action often goes lost amid the vast avalanches of rhetoric coming from all sides, that portray “Brussels” as basically its own planet. This Cause aims at providing our European Union with a solution to this intractable problem.

Worth Knowing

Disconnection

Disconnection arises from many different but related reasons. We at Talos believe that it first arose out of the lack of understanding of the mechanisms and policies of our Union and by the absence of EU public relations campaigns about policies, citizens consultations and the failure to promote tools of direct participation that are already present.

Most secondary schools in the EU teach students the history of their country, its political system and election processes. After all, without this information, many would find themselves ignorant of how their own country works and would struggle to understand how impactful decisions are made. However, a similarly useful introduction into the EU is absent. In most schools, the EU is either only mentioned briefly during history lessons. At most its basic institutions e.g. the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council are mentioned.

While this may be true that decisions are made within these institutions, superficial teaching directly leads to the current lack of understanding of and interest in the EU. Many citizens are not even aware of the mission, composition and impact of their European Parliament.

Overall, the picture is disheartening. These problems are compounded by the use of simplistic communication techniques, such as the labelling of the EU, and everyone involved in it, as “Brussels”. Politicians and the media are both responsible for advancing these misleading and unhelpful labels. Such practices can lead to extremes outcomes.

A poll conducted by Medián in Hungary asked citizens what they fear the most. Interestingly, participants of the poll feared Brussels one and half times more than they did the EU. Hence, a great many people are simply not aware that Brussels is the equivalent of the EU. However, the foundational reason that leads citizens to abstain from casting their much-needed ballot is a lack of understanding of the EU and how it works.

The widespread perception that the EU doesn’t represent its citizens can also not be disregarded. The European Parliament currently consists of 751 MEPs, while according to Eurostat the current population of the Union as a whole is estimated to be 512 million.

Therefore, proportionally, one MEP represents 683 thousand people. In comparison, one MP in France represents 116 thousand, one in Germany 116 thousand, while in Hungary on does only represent 49 thousand. It seems that one MEP proportionally represents more people than any national MP would, but is there a difference with such high numbers?

Disconnection: an academic account

A more unusual but rather interesting analysis touching on the topic of disconnection was made by well-respected academic Giandomenico Majone who is an expert on regulatory governance within the EU. Majone argues that the EU is simply a regulatory state. It produces policy outcomes in areas in which decision-making has been delegated to the EU from member states, which is most notably true for the single market, and the harmonisation of health and safety rules and product standards. The EU simply regulates these areas, by achieving a Pareto efficient outcome, meaning, that some benefit, but nobody is made worse off. Following this reasoning, majoritarian decision-making would only produce outcomes, where the majority benefits, but the minority is made worse-off. Due to the regulatory character, the EU does not require a parliament. For these reasons, he defies the notion of a democratic deficit. Of course, this was a rather brief summary. If you are interested more in this topic we recommend you the read the following papers:

Giandomenico Majone: Europe’s ‘Democratic Deficit’: The Question of Standards (1998)

Giandomenico Majone: The rise of the regulatory state in Europe (2007)

Andreas Follesdal, Simon Hix: Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A
Response to Majone and Moravcsik (2006)

Disconnection: Talos' account

Talos is a firm believer in increasing the connection between citizens and institutions via direct participation in policy-making. We believe this initiative provides an innovative approach to tackling disconnection by bringing citizens directly to the table.

The idea itself has a predecessor which is currently used in Ireland. Tools of direct participation in EU policy-making already exist: the European Citizens’ Initiative or the European Parliamentary Initiative, allow citizens to submit ideas to the Commission or the Parliament respectively. Although these tools are available to all EU citizens, they are not very well known. The idea of a citizens’ assembly could be the ground-breaking mechanism we need to ensure the voice of the citizens is heard. To introduce the concept, let’s have a look at the Citizens’ Assembly of Ireland.

The Irish Citizens' Assembly

Established in 2016, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly is a body that discusses specific issues such as abortion law, ageing population, climate change, the procedure of referenda and fixed-term parliament. On each of these topics, the assembly invited submissions from the public and met for three days each month to listen to experts and deliberate about the agenda topic. The deliberations were broadcasted live and led to several democratically determined final reports. The reports by the citizens’ assembly carried much political weight and the government was obliged to respond to each of them.

In terms of the assembly’s makeup, it differed from its predecessor the “Constitutional Convention of Ireland” which was active from 2012 to 2016 and which initiated the referendum on same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Convention consisted of one chairperson, 33 members of Parliament and democratic parties and 66 randomly selected citizens. In contrast, the Citizens’ Assembly consists, except for the chairperson, only of ‘normal’ citizens, while the overall number of members did not change. The 99 citizens + 99 substitutes were citizens entitled to vote at a referendum in Ireland, randomly selected according to the representativeness criteria gender, age, location and social class. All citizens got refunded for their expenses. The total amount spent for the assembly amounted to about 1,5 million euros.

While most Irish people expressed broad approval of the citizens’ assembly, many have voiced doubts about its usefulness and legitimacy. Some described the assembly as a means to “kick the can down the road”, meaning that politicians push those issues on the assembly’s agenda that they don’t want to deal with, thus delaying political decisions and abdicating their responsibility. Also, when the citizens’ assembly proposed recommendations to the government, there was sometimes a lack of follow-up, especially in regards to the topic of climate change. Often, politicians tended to cherry-pick those recommendations they wanted to talk about, reducing the assembly’s effectiveness. Furthermore, the representativeness and competency of the citizens’ assembly was questioned. As assembly members have to commit to being present at every scheduled weekend, it is likely that the sample was biased towards those who do have time on the weekends and are willing to sacrifice their time to the political process. Besides the general doubt, if 99 citizens can represent the whole population, trust in the assembly was shaken when it emerged that seven assembly members were not randomly selected but instead friends of an employee of the company who did the polling.

Nevertheless, the citizens’ assembly received glowing reviews from the Irish public. It has recovered much of the trust in the political process that was lost during the financial crisis of 2008 when the Irish government had to request IMF assistance for saving its banks. Many viewed the citizens’ assembly as useful in itself since it often initiated public debates and influenced the views held in parliament. Participants’ ability to find solutions for controversial topics dunned politicians to deliberate with the same level of responsibility and respect. Through the experts that provided impartial information to the members of the citizens’ assembly, scientific knowledge was made accessible to everyone and streamed into parliament and society more broadly. Overall, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly, messy as its beginnings may have been, was seen to reinvigorate democracy.

The European Citizens' Assembly

To foster direct participation in EU policy-making processes, the proponents of a European Citizens’ Assembly argue for a body similar to the Irish Citizens Assembly.

A certain number of EU citizens would be selected randomly on yearly basis to attend meetings. Recommendations and meetings are based on briefings prepared by personnel of European institutions, business and civil society.

While the issues of representativeness and effectiveness remain, Belgian author, van Reybrouck judges a European Citizens Assembly to be necessary for countering populism and reestablishing trust. It could establish a true dialogue between European publics.

What do you think?

Drive change on Talos

Cause We need a European Citizens’ Assembly with randomized selection to reconnect us Citizens to the EU!
Launcher Tobias Kopf

Hey there, if you agree with some of our points in this article we would like to invite you to look at the initiative launched on Talos to propose the European Citizens’ Assembly to the EU. As you have read this article, you are likely to agree that there is a need to improve direct participation of citizens in our union. Your specific suggestions may differ, but by signing the proposal we could ask the EU to discuss the matter, and openly consider all options. Also, please feel free to contact us through the comment section or the various social media sites to make your voice heard. We are keen on adopting new points!

Read more

The Irish Times (Why Ireland’s citizens’ assembly is a model for Europe)

European Citizens’ Assembly

In the light of the upcoming European elections of 2019 European capitals (and especially Brussels) are gripped by one fear in particular: will voter turnout continue its decline? Five years ago only 42,62% of the population cast their ballot, while in Slovakia only 13% decided to vote. This reflects a disconnection between citizens and the representatives of our people. Many ideas have emerged on how to increase participation, but most experts agree on the notion that the EU is perceived as distant and complicated. The odd headline-grabbing EU action often goes lost amid the vast avalanches of rhetoric coming from all sides, that portray “Brussels” as basically its own planet. This Cause aims at providing our European Union with a solution to this intractable problem.

Worth Knowing

Disconnection

Disconnection arises from many different but related reasons. We at Talos believe that it first arose out of the lack of understanding of the mechanisms and policies of our Union and by the absence of EU public relations campaigns about policies, citizens consultations and the failure to promote tools of direct participation that are already present.

Most secondary schools in the EU teach students the history of their country, its political system and election processes. After all, without this information, many would find themselves ignorant of how their own country works and would struggle to understand how impactful decisions are made. However, a similarly useful introduction into the EU is absent. In most schools, the EU is either only mentioned briefly during history lessons. At most its basic institutions e.g. the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council are mentioned.

While this may be true that decisions are made within these institutions, superficial teaching directly leads to the current lack of understanding of and interest in the EU. Many citizens are not even aware of the mission, composition and impact of their European Parliament.

Overall, the picture is disheartening. These problems are compounded by the use of simplistic communication techniques, such as the labelling of the EU, and everyone involved in it, as “Brussels”. Politicians and the media are both responsible for advancing these misleading and unhelpful labels. Such practices can lead to extremes outcomes.

A poll conducted by Medián in Hungary asked citizens what they fear the most. Interestingly, participants of the poll feared Brussels one and half times more than they did the EU. Hence, a great many people are simply not aware that Brussels is the equivalent of the EU. However, the foundational reason that leads citizens to abstain from casting their much-needed ballot is a lack of understanding of the EU and how it works.

The widespread perception that the EU doesn’t represent its citizens can also not be disregarded. The European Parliament currently consists of 751 MEPs, while according to Eurostat the current population of the Union as a whole is estimated to be 512 million.

Therefore, proportionally, one MEP represents 683 thousand people. In comparison, one MP in France represents 116 thousand, one in Germany 116 thousand, while in Hungary on does only represent 49 thousand. It seems that one MEP proportionally represents more people than any national MP would, but is there a difference with such high numbers?

Disconnection: an academic account

A more unusual but rather interesting analysis touching on the topic of disconnection was made by well-respected academic Giandomenico Majone who is an expert on regulatory governance within the EU. Majone argues that the EU is simply a regulatory state. It produces policy outcomes in areas in which decision-making has been delegated to the EU from member states, which is most notably true for the single market, and the harmonisation of health and safety rules and product standards. The EU simply regulates these areas, by achieving a Pareto efficient outcome, meaning, that some benefit, but nobody is made worse off. Following this reasoning, majoritarian decision-making would only produce outcomes, where the majority benefits, but the minority is made worse-off. Due to the regulatory character, the EU does not require a parliament. For these reasons, he defies the notion of a democratic deficit. Of course, this was a rather brief summary. If you are interested more in this topic we recommend you the read the following papers:

Giandomenico Majone: Europe’s ‘Democratic Deficit’: The Question of Standards (1998)

Giandomenico Majone: The rise of the regulatory state in Europe (2007)

Andreas Follesdal, Simon Hix: Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A
Response to Majone and Moravcsik (2006)

Disconnection: Talos' account

Talos is a firm believer in increasing the connection between citizens and institutions via direct participation in policy-making. We believe this initiative provides an innovative approach to tackling disconnection by bringing citizens directly to the table.

The idea itself has a predecessor which is currently used in Ireland. Tools of direct participation in EU policy-making already exist: the European Citizens’ Initiative or the European Parliamentary Initiative, allow citizens to submit ideas to the Commission or the Parliament respectively. Although these tools are available to all EU citizens, they are not very well known. The idea of a citizens’ assembly could be the ground-breaking mechanism we need to ensure the voice of the citizens is heard. To introduce the concept, let’s have a look at the Citizens’ Assembly of Ireland.

The Irish Citizens' Assembly

Established in 2016, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly is a body that discusses specific issues such as abortion law, ageing population, climate change, the procedure of referenda and fixed-term parliament. On each of these topics, the assembly invited submissions from the public and met for three days each month to listen to experts and deliberate about the agenda topic. The deliberations were broadcasted live and led to several democratically determined final reports. The reports by the citizens’ assembly carried much political weight and the government was obliged to respond to each of them.

In terms of the assembly’s makeup, it differed from its predecessor the “Constitutional Convention of Ireland” which was active from 2012 to 2016 and which initiated the referendum on same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Convention consisted of one chairperson, 33 members of Parliament and democratic parties and 66 randomly selected citizens. In contrast, the Citizens’ Assembly consists, except for the chairperson, only of ‘normal’ citizens, while the overall number of members did not change. The 99 citizens + 99 substitutes were citizens entitled to vote at a referendum in Ireland, randomly selected according to the representativeness criteria gender, age, location and social class. All citizens got refunded for their expenses. The total amount spent for the assembly amounted to about 1,5 million euros.

While most Irish people expressed broad approval of the citizens’ assembly, many have voiced doubts about its usefulness and legitimacy. Some described the assembly as a means to “kick the can down the road”, meaning that politicians push those issues on the assembly’s agenda that they don’t want to deal with, thus delaying political decisions and abdicating their responsibility. Also, when the citizens’ assembly proposed recommendations to the government, there was sometimes a lack of follow-up, especially in regards to the topic of climate change. Often, politicians tended to cherry-pick those recommendations they wanted to talk about, reducing the assembly’s effectiveness. Furthermore, the representativeness and competency of the citizens’ assembly was questioned. As assembly members have to commit to being present at every scheduled weekend, it is likely that the sample was biased towards those who do have time on the weekends and are willing to sacrifice their time to the political process. Besides the general doubt, if 99 citizens can represent the whole population, trust in the assembly was shaken when it emerged that seven assembly members were not randomly selected but instead friends of an employee of the company who did the polling.

Nevertheless, the citizens’ assembly received glowing reviews from the Irish public. It has recovered much of the trust in the political process that was lost during the financial crisis of 2008 when the Irish government had to request IMF assistance for saving its banks. Many viewed the citizens’ assembly as useful in itself since it often initiated public debates and influenced the views held in parliament. Participants’ ability to find solutions for controversial topics dunned politicians to deliberate with the same level of responsibility and respect. Through the experts that provided impartial information to the members of the citizens’ assembly, scientific knowledge was made accessible to everyone and streamed into parliament and society more broadly. Overall, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly, messy as its beginnings may have been, was seen to reinvigorate democracy.

The European Citizens' Assembly

To foster direct participation in EU policy-making processes, the proponents of a European Citizens’ Assembly argue for a body similar to the Irish Citizens Assembly.

A certain number of EU citizens would be selected randomly on yearly basis to attend meetings. Recommendations and meetings are based on briefings prepared by personnel of European institutions, business and civil society.

While the issues of representativeness and effectiveness remain, Belgian author, van Reybrouck judges a European Citizens Assembly to be necessary for countering populism and reestablishing trust. It could establish a true dialogue between European publics.

What do you think?

Drive change on Talos

Cause We need a European Citizens’ Assembly with randomized selection to reconnect us Citizens to the EU!
Launcher Tobias Kopf

Hey there, if you agree with some of our points in this article we would like to invite you to look at the initiative launched on Talos to propose the European Citizens’ Assembly to the EU. As you have read this article, you are likely to agree that there is a need to improve direct participation of citizens in our union. Your specific suggestions may differ, but by signing the proposal we could ask the EU to discuss the matter, and openly consider all options. Also, please feel free to contact us through the comment section or the various social media sites to make your voice heard. We are keen on adopting new points!

Read more

The Irish Times (Why Ireland’s citizens’ assembly is a model for Europe)

Construire l’UE ensemble: participez!

Construire l’UE ensemble: participez!

  Lancée par La Conférence Olivaint.

Nous invitons chaque citoyenne et citoyen à se prononcer sur son avenir et à envisager ensemble des pistes afin d’améliorer le destin collectif. Relevons, ensemble, les grands défis du XXIème siècle et réunissons nous autour d’un agenda européen positif!

   Rejoignez 13 autres participants.

This page is also available in: English.

 Pourquoi soutenir cette cause

Cette année, à la veille des élections européennes, nous avons décidé de structurer un projet Europe parrainé par le Président de la Commission des budgets du Parlement Européen, Monsieur Jean ARTHUIS et la Présidente de la Commission des affaires étrangères de l’Assemblée Nationale, Madame Marielle de Sarnez. Ce projet voulait animer le débat étudiant autour des questions européennes en recevant des personnalités de premier plan : Pierre Moscovici, Eva Joly ou encore Philippe Oddo afin d’être apte à produire une véritable réflexion dans un second temps. C’est sur cet aspect “réflexion” que nous avons le plaisir et l’honneur de travailler avec Talos afin d’inviter chaque citoyenne et citoyen à se prononcer sur son avenir et envisager ensemble des pistes afin d’améliorer le destin collectif. Au plaisir d’en discuter ensemble dès maintenant et relevons, ensemble, les grands défis du XXIème siècle et réunissons nous autour d’un agenda européen positif!

1) Collecter
Dans un premier temps, nous collectons vos opinions et idées sur Talos sur des sujets tels que l’euro, l’agriculture, le libre-échange, la mobilité des jeunes et l’environment.
2) Analyser
Nous analysons les réponses avec attention. Nous souhaitons recevoir des réponses variées afin de dresser un portrait représentatif de la population lors de nos analyses.
3) Constater
La troisième étape est celle du constat: à partir de nos analyses, nous relevons les divergences d’opinions, les points pertinents et les idées innovantes qui ont été partagés sur Talos.
4) Proposer
Une fois la consultation résumée, nous recherchons et proposons des réformes en ligne avec les propositions et idées partagées par les citoyens. Nous en étudions la faisabilité et les implications afin de construire des propositions pertinentes, percutantes et positives.
5) Améliorer
Afin que la consultation citoyenne ait un véritable impact, nous offrons les proposition aux députés européens afin que ce soit des idées émanant directement des citoyens qui alimentent l’agenda politique.
 Les participants viennent de…
  Ces organisations supportent cette cause
  Qu’en pensez-vous? Discutez et debatez ici

Construire l’UE ensemble: participez!

  Lancée par La Conférence Olivaint.

Nous invitons chaque citoyenne et citoyen à se prononcer sur son avenir et à envisager ensemble des pistes afin d’améliorer le destin collectif. Relevons, ensemble, les grands défis du XXIème siècle et réunissons nous autour d’un agenda européen positif!

   Rejoingnez 13 autres participants.

This page is also available in: English.

   Pourquoi soutenir cette cause?

Cette année, à la veille des élections européennes, nous avons décidé de structurer un projet Europe parrainé par le Président de la Commission des budgets du Parlement Européen, Monsieur Jean ARTHUIS et la Présidente de la Commission des affaires étrangères de l’Assemblée Nationale, Madame Marielle de Sarnez. Ce projet voulait animer le débat étudiant autour des questions européennes en recevant des personnalités de premier plan : Pierre Moscovici, Eva Joly ou encore Philippe Oddo afin d’être apte à produire une véritable réflexion dans un second temps. C’est sur cet aspect “réflexion” que nous avons le plaisir et l’honneur de travailler avec Talos afin d’inviter chaque citoyenne et citoyen à se prononcer sur son avenir et envisager ensemble des pistes afin d’améliorer le destin collectif. Au plaisir d’en discuter ensemble dès maintenant et relevons, ensemble, les grands défis du XXIème siècle et réunissons nous autour d’un agenda européen positif!

1) Collecter
Dans un premier temps, nous collectons vos opinions et idées sur Talos sur des sujets tels que l’euro, l’agriculture, le libre-échange, la mobilité des jeunes et l’environment.
2) Analyser
Nous analysons les réponses avec attention. Nous souhaitons recevoir des réponses variées afin de dresser un portrait représentatif de la population lors de nos analyses.
3) Constater
La troisième étape est celle du constat: à partir de nos analyses, nous relevons les divergences d’opinions, les points pertinents et les idées innovantes qui ont été partagés sur Talos.
4) Proposer
Une fois la consultation résumée, nous recherchons et proposons des réformes en ligne avec les propositions et idées partagées par les citoyens. Nous en étudions la faisabilité et les implications afin de construire des propositions pertinentes, percutantes et positives.
5) Améliorer
Afin que la consultation citoyenne ait un véritable impact, nous offrons les proposition aux députés européens afin que ce soit des idées émanant directement des citoyens qui alimentent l’agenda politique.
 Les participants viennent de…
  Ces organisations supportent cette cause
  Qu’en pensez-vous? Discutez et debatez ici

Let’s create an EU network of A.I Innovation Hubs!

Let’s create an EU network of A.I Innovation Hubs!

  Launched by Dénes András Nagy, Martin Hiess, Basti Schnorrenberg.

The EU and its member states should be at the forefront of the A.I revolution. Join us in calling for the creation of a European network of A.I hubs!

   Join some other 13 Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

We, the supporters of this Cause, as EU Member State citizens, want to ensure that our Member States, united in our European Union, be at the forefront of the Artificial Intelligence (A.I) revolution.

We want to enable our students, researchers and entrepreneurs to perform the best possible A.I studies, research and business within the Member States of our European Union.

Recognizing the potential contained within A.I, all of our Member States have already agreed to “cooperate on reinforcing AI research centers, supporting their pan-European dimension” and to “the establishment of a dense network of Digital Innovation Hubs at European level”.

Our proposal furthers these commitments: let’s empower the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to serve these aims!

Specifically we recommend the creation of a dedicated A.I Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) within the EIT.

There are 3 central reasons why we believe that being at the forefront of A.I innovation is crucial to us as EU Member State citizens.

The economic potential of AI
We can harness together the economic potential contained within Artificial Intelligence solutions, in order to raise our living standards across our European Union.
AI as a solution to our common challenges
We can augment our quality of life within our Member States by applying Artificial Intelligence solutions to solve our common challenges.
Developing AI in line with EU values
We can ensure that A.I development is conducted in line with EU values to safeguard our way of life.

In order to achieve our aim, we will register a European Parliament petition to have our proposal heard.

To have our proposal taken up at a European Union level, we need your support.

Please sign up as a supporter of our Cause on Talos today!

Not sure how supporting a Cause on Talos will have an impact?

Have a look at our quick guidelines to understand how we enable you to drive institutionalized change in Europe.

Whether you support a Cause or launch your own, Talos empowers you to be a more impactful citizen!

 This is where our supporters come from
  These organisations support this cause
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

Let’s create an EU network of A.I Innovation Hubs!

     Launched by Dénes Andràs Nagy, Martin Hiess and Basti Schnorrenberg.

The EU and its member states should be at the forefront of the A.I revolution. Join us in calling for the creation of a European network of A.I hubs!

   Join some other 13 Europeans supporting this cause.

   Why should You support this cause?

We, the supporters of this Cause, as EU Member State citizens, want to ensure that our Member States, united in our European Union, be at the forefront of the Artificial Intelligence (A.I) revolution.

We want to enable our students, researchers and entrepreneurs to perform the best possible A.I studies, research and business within the Member States of our European Union.

Recognizing the potential contained within A.I, all of our Member States have already agreed to “cooperate on reinforcing AI research centers, supporting their pan-European dimension” and to “the establishment of a dense network of Digital Innovation Hubs at European level”.

Our proposal furthers these commitments: let’s empower the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to serve these aims!

Specifically we recommend the creation of a dedicated A.I Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) within the EIT.

There are 3 central reasons why we believe that being at the forefront of A.I innovation is crucial to us as EU Member State citizens:

The economic potential of AI
We can harness together the economic potential contained within Artificial Intelligence solutions, in order to raise our living standards across our European Union.
AI as a solution to our common challenges
We can augment our quality of life within our Member States by applying Artificial Intelligence solutions to solve our common challenges.
Developing AI in line with EU values
We can ensure that A.I development is conducted in line with EU values to safeguard our way of life.

In order to achieve our aim, we will register a European Parliament petition to have our proposal heard.

To have our proposal taken up at a European Union level, we need your support.

Please sign up as a supporter of our Cause on Talos today!

Not sure how supporting a cause on Talos will have an impact?

Have a look at our quick guidelines to understand how we enable to drive real change in Europe.

Whether you support a cause or launch your own, Talos offers you the chance to be a more impactful citizen!

 This is where our supporters come from
  These organisations support the cause
  What are your thoughts on this Cause? Debate and discuss it!

Talos’ President addresses the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the EP

Talos’ President addresses the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament

On November the 27th, Talos’ President, Dénes András Nagy was honoured with the opportunity to address the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of our European Parliament as part of the “European Youth Hearing” process. At his hearing, Dénes had the opportunity to present our “Let’s reform the e-petition system of our European Parliament” Cause on Talos.

As part of the “European Youth Hearing” process, following biannual European Youth Events (EYE), selected young EU Member State citizens are invited to the European Parliament in order to present public policy proposals to Members of European Parliament (MEPs) on how to reform our European Union. Taking part in the European Youth Event 2018 (EYE 2018), Dénes was invited to take part in an ideas competition on why European Youth Hearings are important due to his plenary speech in Strasbourg.

The Talos team is grateful to the wonderful team at the Youth Outreach Unit of the Directorate for Campaigns within the Directorate-General for Communication of our European Parliament for this opportunity.

If you are interested in getting involved in our Cause titled “Let’s reform the e-petition system of our European Parliament”, click here.