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Citizens expect: Lessons from the European Citizens' Consultations

Paul Butcher (Policy Analyst) and Corina Stratulat (Head of European Politics and Institutions programme and Senior Policy Analyst)

The European Citizens' Consultations (ECCs) were supposed to bring citizens into the decision-making process and inform the European Council's discussions about the future of the EU at the recent Sibiu Summit. In practice, any outcome from the ECCs has been largely absent, and it is unclear if they have been taken on board at all. This is despite the events providing a wealth of information on European citizens' priorities, proposals, and demands. Paul Butcher and Corina Stratulat identify the main lesson of the 2018 ECCs – that without any clear definition of their objectives, it is impossible to adequately assess or respond to them. The authors go on to argue that any future repeat of the process must clearly define the scope and purpose of the exercise in advance. As the EU enters a new politico-institutional cycle, the immediate priority is to ensure that the ECCs and other forms of citizens' involvement in decision-making appear prominently on the agenda of the new Commission and subsequent European Council summits.

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