Democracy and participation

Alternative Europe


Who is behind this?

Richard Youngs

Carnegie Europe


Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

After the strains and turmoil of recent years, the EU’s raison d’etre must evolve in order to survive: from reconciliation between nations to democracy among citizens. This project aims to map out an alternative European project: one that at its core is about people-based democracy. To do so, we will engage through innovative Democracy Labs with a diverse range of social actors to rethink EU integration, capture ideas in high-quality written output, and disseminate the ideas widely.

Where will your idea take place?

Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, and the UK

Why does Europe need your idea?

The EU confronts an unprecedented range and depth of crises. Innovative ways of rebuilding European cooperation are urgently required. And yet, few concrete ideas have emerged for a qualitative change to European integration. What really needs to be done to re-invent the EU? What is needed to rebuild solidarity between its citizens and between its different governments? This project will shed light on these crucial questions from an innovative angle of participatory debate with social actors.

What is your impact?

This project aims to develop a blueprint for decisive change. It proceeds from the contention that the EU’s challenge is to find looser, freer, more informal ways of rebuilding solidarity. The EU needs fundamentally new thinking of how to go back to basics and reconstruct the badly damaged sense of partnership and solidarity. This rethink must include new voices and involve a fully participative process of consultation. Our aim is to make a contribution to this participative rethink.

How do you get there?

Six Democracy Labs in different EU member states. These will convene key actors from local grass roots and social movements in different European countries to do some serious thinking on the modalities of moving toward an integrated Europe based on solidarity and the concrete moves that are needed to kick-start a different kind of pan-European cooperation. The Labs will be designed to engage in open-ended reflection about future models of integration. They will be held in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and the UK–a mix of euro-enthusiast and euro-sceptical states. Each Democracy Lab will last one and a half days and will be run in partnership with a local civic organization from each respective country. The Labs will reflect the inter-disciplinary nature of our project.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

Citizens, civil society organizations and movements across the EU, European institutions and member state governments, think tanks, academia, and both EU and member state media.

What makes your idea stand apart?

This project is different from others because it will not simply lay out an ideal-type vision for what the Union should be like that is not at all grounded in real-life political process. The added value of Carnegie’s project would be its focus on locally active social movements and its more open-ended set of questions about the future of EU integration. We would seek to harness local civic dynamism that is already emerging and explore how such actors link their activities to the EU debates.

€ 49952,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 289892,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Travel costs, accommodation and subsistence: 5,500 EUR; Conference expenses: 16,200 EUR; Project manager Richard Youngs: 15,000 EUR; Project assistant Maria Koomen: 5,000 EUR; Office expenses: 8,252 EUR

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

Carnegie utilizes a multi-platform communication strategy to facilitate global reach and policy impact of its work, engaging traditional media, social marketing, and direct communication with key audiences. We will appreciate the platform’s members’ ideas to help us with promoting our work and ideas. We would value their input on selecting local social movement partners and organizations running deliberative polling and participative focus groups to be invited to join the Democracy Labs.


Richard Youngs

Idea created on March 8, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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