9 - Registration and welcome coffee

9.30-11.00 Opening session

Moderator: Bruno Kaufmann, Global Democracy Correspondent for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation

9.30       Welcome by Christophe Lefèvre, Chair of the EESC's ECI ad hoc Group

9.45       Keynote speech by Laura Sullivan, Executive Director of the digital platform

10.00     Opening session with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission followed by Q&A session

11 -  Coffee break

11.15 - Workshops

Contributing ECI organisers: Anthony Simpson, representative of the European Citizens' Initiative "Permanent European Union Citizenship"; Michael Laubsch, representative of the European Citizens' Initiative "Stop Extremism"; László Szabó, representative of the European Citizens' Initiative "STOP FRAUD and abuse of EU FUNDS - by better control of decisions, implementation and penalties".

WORKSHOP 1: Expanding the digital dimension of the ECI: co-creating the best possible online collection system

With around 60% of signatures collected online, the digital dimension of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) needs to continuously evolve in order to reflect the realities of 21st century campaigning. The launch of the European Commission’s new online collection system in 2020 is an opportunity to make the system as easy to use and campaigner-friendly as possible. What can the Commission learn from Open ECI or other comparable individual online signature collection systems? How can the Commission adopt the best features of both the central and individual online collection systems to produce the best possible version in 2020? How can the new ECI Forum be incorporated into a new online collection system? This co-creation workshop will allow participants to discuss the constraints and/or challenges of the current online collection system provided by the Commission and offer suggestions and ideas for a new and improved version. The speakers will be Commission representatives responsible for designing the new system, digital experts and campaigning members of civil society.

This workshop is co-organised by Democracy International and European Citizen Action Service.

Moderator: Assya Kavrakova, director of European Citizen Action Service

  • Charlotte Rive, Secretariat-General, European Commission
  • Thomas Eitzenberger, OpenECI software developer
  • Olga Kikou, representative of the ECI "End the Cage Age"
  • Dénes András Nagy, Policy Advisor at the Federal Union of European Nationalities for the ECI "Minority SafePack", Hungary
  • Jim Dratwa, Head of EU Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies

With contribution from Daniela Vancic, European Programme Manager at Democracy International and Elisa Lironi, Senior Manager European Democracy at European Citizen Action Service.

WORKSHOP 2: Learning from the Member States: what can the ECI and the EU learn from national agenda-setting initiatives?

The ECI is the world’s first ever instrument for digital, transnational and participatory democracy. However, it is not the only agenda-setting instrument for citizens in Europe. Citizens in many Member States have the possibility of bringing topics to the political agenda. For this, they use sometimes similar but also sometimes different methods to activate citizens and to influence policymaking - some of them with remarkable success. The ECI can learn from these good examples, and so can the EU itself.

This workshop is co-organised by Bertelsmann Stiftung, Democracy International and The ECI Campaign.

Moderator: Maarten de Groot, European Programme Officer at Democracy International

  • Toñi Vazquez, activist for housing rights in the PAH – Stop Evictions (Platform of People Affected by Mortgages), Spain
  • Annija Emersone, Community Manager at, Latvia
  • Maija Setälä, Professor of Political Science at the Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History and Political Science at the University of Turku, Finland

With contribution from Christian Huesmann, Project Manager at Bertelsmann Stiftung, Carsten Berg, director of The ECI Campaign, and dr James Organ, Law School of the University of Liverpool, EESC expert to the rapporteur of the opinion.

1.30 – 2.30 Lunch offered by the European Economic and Social Committee

Rooms and interpreting:

  • Opening session Atrium 5 English only
  • Workshop 1 – Atrium 5 – English only
  • Workshop 2 – room JDE 63 and 60 – English/French/German
  • Information stands Atrium 5 and Foyer 6
  • Lunch Atrium 6