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Citizens’ Dialogue in Zagreb

The event took place on 3 March 2014 in Zagreb, CROATIA, at 16:00 CET

English

"Europe is created every time citizens meet and speak about it"

On 3 March, European Commissioner Neven Mimica held a Citizens' Dialogue with 500 citizens in the EU's youngest Member State. The lively discussion focused on the concrete benefits for citizens that come with Union membership. The Commissioner for Consumer Policy said that Europe was not a static construction, but that "it is created every time citizens meet and speak about it".

The improvement of living standards and the chances of finding a job were particularly important for most citizens in the room and those participating via social media. Some citizens also wondered whether some EU policies had exacerbated the country's economic challenges. Commissioner Mimica made clear that "the crisis came before we became a Member State and the EU helps to mitigate the effects of the crisis". Participants also wanted to know what can be done to defend the rights of customers of big utility companies and how the EU can help to promote ethical consumption.

Moreover, citizens addressed the fact that in Croatia, multinational companies sell products under the same brand, but of different quality than in the "older" Member States. As a result, 2 out of 3 citizens in the room did not believe that their consumer rights were better protected now that Croatia is a Member State.

Commissioner Mimica underlined that "as a base line, companies need to meet two conditions: their products must be safe and they must be correctly labelled". In his conclusions Commissioner Mimica expressed his hope that Croatia would play an active role in EU policy making and ended with Jean Monnet's words that "Europe does not connect states, but it connects citizens".

The Citizens' Dialogue in Zagreb is part of a series of over 50 debates in all 28 Member States. Since September 2012 President José Manuel Barroso and practically all Members of the European Commission have been holding discussions with citizens from all walks of life.

What are the dialogues about?

This dialogue is one of series the Commission is holding in cities in every EU country, giving ordinary people an opportunity to speak directly to EU politicians about their rights, the kind of Europe they want to live in, and expectations for the European Union.

They follow a call by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso for an EU-wide debate on proposals to deepen Economic and Monetary Union, and to create a legitimate political union.

“There must be a broad debate all over Europe. A debate of truly European dimension,” he said. “We cannot continue trying to solve European problems just with national solutions. This debate has to take place in our societies and among our citizens”.

Hrvatska

„Europa nastaje svaki put kad se građani sastanu i pričaju o njoj”

Europski povjerenik Neven Mimica održao je 3. ožujka Dijalog s građanima u najmlađoj državi članici EU-a u kojem je sudjelovalo 500 građana. Živahna rasprava bila je usmjerena na konkretne prednosti članstva u Uniji za građane. Povjerenik za potrošačku politiku izjavio je da Europa nije statična konstrukcija, već da ”nastaje svaki put kad se građani sastanu i pričaju o njoj”.

Poboljšanje životnog standarda i mogućnosti zapošljavanja bile su osobito važne teme većini prisutnih građana i onima koji su sudjelovali putem društvenih medija. Neki su se građani pitali jesu li određene politike EU-a pogoršale gospodarske probleme u zemlji. Povjerenik Mimica jasno je dao do znanja da je „kriza nastupila prije nego što smo postali država članica, a EU pomaže ublažiti posljedice krize”.

Sudionici su također željeli znati što se može učiniti da se zaštite prava potrošača velikih komunalnih poduzeća i kako EU može pridonijeti etičnoj potrošnji. Građani su se dotakli i činjenice da u Hrvatskoj multinacionalna poduzeća prodaju proizvode pod istom robnom markom kao i u „starijim” državama članicama, ali im se kvaliteta razlikuje. Zbog toga dva od tri građana koji su prisustvovali dijalogu ne vjeruje da su njihova potrošačka prava bolje zaštićena sad kad je Hrvatska država članica. Povjerenik Mimica istaknuo je da „u osnovi, poduzeća moraju zadovoljiti dva uvjeta: njihovi proizvodi moraju biti sigurni i moraju biti ispravno označeni”.

U svojem je zaključku povjerenik Mimica izrazio nadu da će Hrvatska imati aktivnu ulogu u donošenju politika EU-a i završio riječima Jeana Monneta: „Europa povezuje građane, a ne države.”

Dijalog s građanima u Zagrebu dio je niza od preko 50 rasprava održanih u svih 28 država članica. Predsjednik José Manuel Barroso i gotovo svi članovi Europske komisije održavaju razgovore s građanima iz svih društvenih slojeva od rujna 2012.

In brief

  • WITH

    Commissioner for Consumer policy Neven Mimica

  • ABOUT

    Croatia's nearly one year in the EU, Economic crisis, Consumer Policy

  • LIVE

    You will be able to watch the record here

  • WHERE

    Hypo centar, 6 Slavonska avenija, Zagreb

  • WHEN

    3 March 2014 at 16:00 CET

Comments from the live debate