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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Making the European elections more democratic and boosting participation: The ground is prepared!

Viviane Reding

With 150 citizens from all over Europe coming together in Brussels for a Pan-European Citizens' Dialogue, the Commission unveiled two reports detailing the steps taken to make the upcoming European elections more democratic and bring European politics closer to citizens.

One year ago, the European Commission made a set of recommendations to increase the transparency and democratic legitimacy of the European elections and boost voter turnout. In addition, the Commissioner organised over 50 Citizens' Dialogues all over Europe to hear what citizens think about and what they expect for the future of the Union.

Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "European elections need to be truly European. Citizens need to know how their choice fits into the bigger European picture. We have prepared the ground. For the first time in the history of European integration, a debate has started around clearly designated candidates for the presidency of the Commission who stand for certain policy choices. (…) But democracy isn't just about Election Day. It's about debating Europe's future with people at local level, all year round."

One of the reports analyses how the Commission's recommendations calling on European political parties to nominate their candidates for President of the Commission and to display their European political party affiliation have been put into practice.

A second report looks at the use of Citizens' Dialogues as a new communication instrument to inform people, restore trust in European and national institutions and show citizens that their voice does count in the EU.

Today's reports coincide with the final all-day, Pan-European Citizens' Dialogue, which brings together citizens from all over Europe who have previously participated in the Dialogues undertaken since September 2012. The event is in Brussels with President José Manuel Barroso and ten European Commissioners participating and debating with citizens (watch the Dialogue online here).