Comprehensive consultations on Europe

2018 was the year of reflection on the future of Europe. In order to understand the hopes and fears of citizens of Latvia regarding the future of European Union, more than 1500 citizens have been engaged in consultations that took place both in the regions of Latvia and online. Consultations were co-organized by state institutions and civil society organisations using various experimental formats.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

SHORT OVERVIEW

Around 837 people took part in 23 events on the future of Europe organised in Latvia during the summer and autumn of 2018. More than half of these events were organised by civil society organisations experimenting with different formats to engage general public in the debate on Europe.

In addition, a large-scale idea crowdsourcing action was organized online in a dedicated online platform Dialogi par Eiropas Nākotni (Dialogues on the Future of Europe) collecting citizens’ ideas on creating more wealth, happiness, security and justice for Europe. Altogether more than 370 ideas were collected, and 721 registered participants (around 1 500 not registered participants) took part in online voting casting their votes 26233 times for the ideas they considered as being the best.

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EXTENDED OVERVIEW

Citizens’ consultations on Europe in Latvia were organised from summer through to November 2018. Consultations took place in various regions of Latvia, in Riga and online.

About a half of all citizens’ consultations were organized by civil society organisations active either locally or at the national level, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided funding to cover their expenses.

Organizers of citizens’ consultations were free to choose their own formats for arranging the consultations; some of organizers chose a traditional discussion format while others opted for more innovative formats, such as workshops or brainstorms. All event organizers were prompted to choose conversations with the audience over lectures and expert commentaries. Organizers of the events and/or civil society observers wrote a summary about each event, particularly noting the main thematic categories and concerns discussed by participants, as well as the ideas on the future of Europe.

In parallel to regional consultations, the ideas on the future of Europe were collected on the online platform Dialogi par Eiropas Nākotni (Dialogues on the Future of Europe) https://manaeiropa.manabalss.lv. This platform is part of the popular e-petitioning platform ManaBalss. Both the citizens who attended the consultations and everyone else were encouraged to come up with their own ideas and to vote on ideas submitted by others. Ideas collected during the regional consultations were also added to the idea pool on the platform.

Overall, 374 ideas on the future of Europe were collected on the Dialogi par Eiropas Nākotni platform, and 721 participants voted on the ideas collected there casting their votes 26233 times for the ideas they preferred. Citizens of Latvia were asked to vote for ideas separated into randomly chosen pairs within specific thematic groupings (for example, how to make Europe more secure?) This method was chosen in order to enable the idea collection and voting to happen in parallel. This method allows to discern the ideas that are the most and least often supported by participants when these ideas are contrasted with some other suggestion proposed by participants in that thematic grouping.

At the conclusion of the regional consultations and online idea collection, two Latvian civil society organisations – Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS and Civic Alliance Latvia – wrote a summary report on citizens’ consultations on Europe in Latvia.

The summary report is available on PROVIDUS website here: http://providus.lv/en/article/report-on-citizens-consultations-on-europe-in-latvia

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