Democracy and participation

Citizens’ Call for Transparent Trilogues shortlist


Who is behind this?

Elisa Lironi

European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)


Who is joining forces?

VoteWatch Europe


Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

75% of EU legislation is decided behind closed doors in the so-called Trilogues, according to procedures that are not envisaged in the Treaties and are not transparent. EU legislation determines up to 80% of the laws that affect citizens' daily lives. We want to solicit the “wisdom of the crowd” on proposals on how to make the process transparent and accessible to citizens (crowdsourcing ideas). Politicians will be called on to commit to them on the eve of the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Where will your idea take place?

Online crowdsourcing platform and offline in Brussels to engage European politicians.

Why does Europe need your idea?

Openness and transparency are key ingredients to build accountability and trust -necessary for the functioning of healthy democracies. Despite citizens’ right to access to information and participate in EU policy-making, 75% of EU legislation is decided behind closed doors through trilogues, informal meetings between the EC, EP, the Council. This common practice follows procedures that are not envisaged in the Treaties and non-transparent.
The problem was identified by several EU entities (e.g. EESC, EU Ombudsman and ECJ), which gave specific recommendations on the issue. As decisions should not be taken through secretive negotiations, our project will ensure the EC, EP and Council open trilogues for scrutiny from citizens, thus enhancing accountability and participation in EU law-making.

What is your impact?

The successful result of this project would be to see a change in EU decision-making, mainly through:
1. Raising awareness on trilogues amongst EU citizens;
2. Citizens’ contributions and ideas on how EU decision-making processes should be done (more transparency);
3. Policy-makers’ commitment in including citizens’ ideas for more transparent trilogues and EU decision-making.
During the 2019 European Elections, we will strive for commitments undertaken publicly from future MEPs, the EC and the Council to ensure transparency of trilogues based on proposals made by citizens via the crowdsourcing platform. Then we will widely publicised and monitor the fulfilment of these commitments on VoteWatch’s platform to make sure our EU representatives bring a change to decision-making processes.

How do you get there?

Project implementation in 3 steps:
1. Using an online crowdsourcing platform to raise awareness on trilogues among EU citizens and solicit citizen ideas for increasing transparency of decisions taken behind closed doors. (1. asking citizens which recommendations from the EU Ombudsman and the EESC they consider a priority; 2. crowdsourcing for additional ideas to making EU policy-making more transparent and accessible.)
2. Developing concrete proposals for opening up trilogues based on citizens ideas and identifying 2019 EP candidates, Spitzenkandidaten, and Council members to commit to implement them.
3. Using VoteWatch’s platform to widely publicise those commitments, monitor the follow-up of their implementation after the EP elections and provide feedback to citizens on the results.

What is your story?

ECAS’s mission is to empower citizens by developing mechanisms to increase citizens' and CSOs’ democratic participation in the EU. VoteWatch, the most followed platform by MEPs, aims to provide visibility to societal issues that affect all EU countries. It reports on decisions made in the EU institutions, looking into developments in EU member states that impact citizens’ lives.
There is momentum for making EU policy-making more transparent and accessible to citizens. The ECJ, EESC and EU Ombudsman have recently advocated opening up trilogues to allow citizens to participate in EU legislative processes. The 2019 European elections will be the right moment to gather the commitments from the EC, EP and Council for making a change in EU decision-making in the next 5 years and beyond.

Who are you doing it for?

EU citizens are partially denied their right to access information and participate in EU decision-making. In this project, EU citizens will be beneficiaries of the final result (more open and transparent EU decision-making process) and stakeholders, as they will generate the ideas and proposals that EU politicians will commit to.
As CSOs and other stakeholders are also affected by non-transparent trilogues, we will involve them to raise awareness of the issue, reach out to citizens and advocate for more transparency in EU policy-making.
Policy-makers will also be impacted in this call for change, as we will be targeting running MEPs, Spitzenkandidaten and members of the Council for their commitment to stand for trilogue transparency as an essential element of EU law-making legitimacy.

What makes your idea stand apart?

Since trilogues are rather unknown as an EU decision-making process, raising awareness about them among citizens is a must. The unconventional approach of this project relates to the fact that we would use a transnational tool and crowdsourcing as an innovative method not only to reach out to EU citizens but also to gather their ideas on how to make EU decision-making more transparent and accessible. This means that this project would not be about the usual “shaming and blaming” EU institutions for not being transparent - a discourse used in most campaigns on the issue, but rather to use a constructive approach and allow citizens to propose and bring to politicians the change they want to see.

€ 48448,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 48448,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Office expenses 10800 EUR Crowdsourcing Platform Development 6000 EUR Communications material 1204 EUR Staff Costs 30444 EUR

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We hope to receive feedback to our idea, constructive suggestions for improvement and, most of all, commitment from other platform users to activate their networks in order to have more proposals from citizens on the crowdsourcing platform and to develop a real community of citizen advocates.


Elisa Lironi

Dorian Obreajan

Idea created on Jan. 12, 2018
Last edit on May 22, 2018

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