Democracy and participation

European Citizens' Initiatives to Shape EU …


Who is behind this?

Sophie Hatzfeldt

Democracy International e.V.


Who is joining forces?

European Citizen Action Service




Beyond the core partners listed above, we have 5 more cooperation partners from across Europe: (1) ProDemos in the Netherlands (, (2) Citizen Participation Forum in Bulgaria (, (3) Institute for Electronic Participation in Slovenia (, (4) Democracy Council of Falun in Sweden (, (5) and Ragusa in Italy (

Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

In the EU, people have had the power to take part in political decision-making for the past 4 years – but few recognise their power. We want to use ICTs to support the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to become a better tool of participation at the European level. We want to create open spaces for cross-border debate and activism on European visions and alternatives, and empower in particularly the young generation to have a say on what is going on in Europe.

Where will your idea take place?

Europe (Berlin, Brussels, The Hague, Falun, Sofia, Ljubljana, Ragusa)

Why does Europe need your idea?

Political decision-making in the EU is often perceived as opaque, bureaucratic and distant. The resulting discontent and frustration risk being hijacked by populist right-wing movements. Instead we must channel the disappointment toward constructive change and show people they have the means to shape EU politics. The direct challenge is to make the ECI more widely known and easier to use, so it can unfold its potential of giving people a voice and bridging the gap between Brussels and Europeans.

What is your impact?

The project wants to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to mobilise online and offline for a better, more democratic Europe. The project envisions an app created by and for the people, to make the ECI more accessible, playful and effective, especially for the young generation. This will help to build open spaces for cross-border debate on transnational issues and to develop a European public sphere. With this, we hope to catalyse the use of ICT for advancing European democracy.

How do you get there?

(1) Hackathon: we want to bring together designers, developers, communication experts, officials, activists and dreamers from across Europe to develop the app. (2) We want to run a series of workshops together with our partners in different countries, bringing citizens together with representatives from local authorities, civil society, media and EU politics, to engage in an open discussion about how people can have a chance to be heard in Europe. (3) We want to gather feedback on the app and collect proposals for enabling people to actively engage in the EU, which will flow into an upgrade of the app. (4) We want to create a wide network of Europeans, civil society and media partners that will invite participants, and share information about the project and future citizens’ initiatives.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

We want to offer a tool to all Europeans that feel disappointed with the current situation in Europe but who believe in proactive mobilisation as a means for change. Our online platform enables people to voice their wishes for a different Europe and to push with others for political transformation. We want to reach out particularly to Europe’s youth and ‘digital natives’, being especially disengaged with established politics but particularly receptive to new forms of online activism.

What makes your idea stand apart?

The idea of the project is unique in that it encourages public debates about European issues, while embedding these debates in the political decision-making process of the EU. This is ensured because the issues discussed are based on ECIs, which are anchored in the EU’s legislative process and legally lead to a response from the EU institutions. This concrete impact is crucial, as it encourages people to actively engage and to involve also those who are less acquainted with EU politics.

€ 49900,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 77900,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Hackathon (travel costs for participants, snacks and drinks, room rental, hardware): 20,000; Travels to 7 countries for workshops: 9,000; Organisation of 7 workshops (logistics): 14,000; Translation costs of app content and communication (450 per month): 5,400; Online/offline dissemination activities (social media, postcards, brochures, press coverage in major European newspapers): 1,500; Project manager (3500 per month): 28,000

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We would love to hear from you if you have IT-knowhow, if you have taken part in a hackathon for a social cause, if you have ever run a European Citizens Initiative yourself, if you have great tips on community building, if you have mobilised movements and debates across borders, if you have ideas for our projects, and most of all, if you feel inspired and motivated to help us out in realising our project!!



Idea created on March 7, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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