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Your Europe Your Say 2016

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Democracy in Europe: where do we stand? A civil society perspective


9.30 - 10.00         Registration of participants


10.00 - 10.40       Opening session


Welcome addresses:

Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Jean-Marc Roirant, President of the European Civic Forum (FCE), Co-chair of the EESC Liaison Group with European civil society organisations and networks

Key note speech by Lars Trägård, Professor at the Institute for Civil Society Studies of Ersta Sköndal University College in Stockholm (Sweden): The role of civil society in reducing EU's democratic deficit: Nordic perspectives


10.40 – 13.00      Session I: "The European democracy in light of the current crisis: who sets the agenda, How to reach legitimate decisions?"

Session facilitated by:Tim King, Editor in chief of European Voice

Introductory speech by Stijn Smismans, Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law and Governance, Professor at the Centre for European Law and Governance, Cardiff Law School (United-kingdom): Should participatory democracy become the normative model for EU governance?


Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament: Does the EU still take legitimate decisions in times of crisis?

Katsuji Imata, Acting Secretary General of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS): Nowadays challenges and opportunities for civil society participation in the life of the global community

Luca Jahier, president of the EESC Various Interests Group: An EESC Roadmap for Participatory Democracy

Conny Reuter, President of the Platform of European Social NGOs, member of the EESC Liaison Group: Can the democratic legitimacy of decision-making processes at EU level be increased?


General debate


13.00 - 14.30       Lunch break


14.30 - 16.00       Session II: "How to promote a democratic political culture: from local practices to European ones" (Parallel workshops)


Workshop 1:       Strengthening democratic spaces for civil society in the European public sphere

Moderator:          Cristian Pirvulescu, member of the Various Interest Group


Ariane Rodert, member of the EESC various Interests Group: Civil dialogue practices in Europe

Mathew Lowry, online communication strategist: Do we have a European online public sphere?

Giuseppe Porcaro, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), member of the EESC Liaison Group: Building a European Civic Space: The role of Civil Society Organisations as "producers" of democracy


Workshop 2:     Civil society organisations - key players to achieve European common good

Moderator:        Erik Svensson, member of the EESC Employers' Group


Carlotta Besozzi, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), member of the EESC Liaison Group: Key current challenges of participation of civil society in EU policy-making

Jérôme Verlhac, Doctor of Law: Can a statute for a European association make a difference?

Goran Forbici, Director, Centre of Information Service, Cooperation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS) (Slovenia): Institutionalizing public participation in decision-making in Slovenia – recent developments


Workshop 3:     Living together: rethinking solidarity in a society of individuals

Moderator:        Béatrice Ouin, member of the EESC Workers' Group


Raffaella Bolini, member of the National Presidency of the Association for Social Promotion ARCI (Italy): Is solidarity still the glue of European integration? How we can rethink solidarity in Europe today

Aitor Tinoco i Girona, Democratia Ya (Spain): Solidarity amongst the indignados in Europe. A different public, a different sphere?

Eric Favey, National Secretary of La Ligue de l’enseignement (France): How to recompose public action? How to renew democratic practices?


16.00 - 16.15       Coffee break


16.15 – 17.30      Closing session

Moderator:         Jan Robert Suesser, Vice-President of the European Civic Forum (FCE), member of the EESC Liaison Group

Report on the three workshops by the moderators, followed by a general discussion.

Closing speech by  Lousewies van der Laan, former member of the European Parliament and of the Dutch Parliament, independent democracy advisor: Future perspectives for democracy in Europe

Closing remarks by Jean-Marc Roirant, Co-chair of the Liaison Group with European civil society organisations and networks, and Staffan Nilsson, EESC President