Between 23 and 26 May, Europe goes to the polls to elect a new European Parliament. It will be the most controversial and important elections in decades.
But elections are not enough to realise democracy.
The democratic problems of the European Union are vast. The EU has gained ever more competences, but democracy has stayed behind. Some of the most important decisions, such as the content of the EU Treaties or Eurogroup policies, are taken behind closed doors – outside the reach of parliaments. Corporate lobbyists and special interests have filled up the democratic vacuum. The uniformity of European law throughout the EU means one size fits nobody.
And the citizens… end up being powerless.
We need to recognise that the democratic problems of the EU and its elitist nature have been a big factor in the growth of popular alienation, euroscepticism and Brexit.
The EU needs to change. Citizens should be put at the beginning and the end of political decision-making in the EU. That is why Democracy International, Meer Democratie Netherlands and partner organisations have started the #NowTheCitizens campaign. We are calling for the organisation of citizens’ assemblies on the democratic future of Europe. They can bring together citizens selected by lot, from diverse backgrounds, who don’t normally meet and discuss, and can think outside the box to develop proposals for a fundamental renewal of democracy in Europe. To ensure ownership and broad support among the population, referendums should be held on the outcomes.
Together with almost 60 NGOs we are calling all candidates for the European Parliament to sign our pledge and promise support for this. Check which candidates have pledged so far – and sign our petition!
Board Member Democracy International
and Campaigning Manager Now the Citizens