Projects :: E-COMMITTEE
Encouraging citizens to participate
Through technology developed in Europe, EU citizens will get the chance to have closer contact with – and more influence on – their representatives at the European Parliament.
The eCommittee project, part of the EU eParticipation initiative, will gather suggestions and questions from citizens and interested organisations from ten EU countries. The questions will be put to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) serving on committees looking at climate change and other environmental issues.
Between now and 2010 the project will target six major committee sessions for citizen participation. If MEPs respond positively to the citizen input, and react to it, the pilot scheme could pave the way for a fully functioning system that allows people to have more direct input into all legislation.
Using existing technology
In the initial stages, the project team concentrated on making sure the technical infrastructure was in place to allow the proposed participation to go ahead. The four main project partners have also been appointing national moderators in each of the ten targeted EU Member States.
The project will use web-conferencing technology combined with the European Parliament’s new video and audio streaming services.
Slovenia-based project partner Novitech will look after the technical side of the project, provide online collaborative tools, and ensure consistent content service before, during and after committee sessions.
Citizens from ten countries
German partner Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung has been identifying and appointing national moderators and inviting concerned stakeholders from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom to participate.
Environmental expertise is provided by the Belgium-based Climate Action Network, while the Association of Accredited Lobbyists to the European Parliament will handle liasing with MEPs and communicating with the public.
The proposed structure the partners are putting in place will allow environmental non-governmental organisations, business federations, labour organisations, climate researchers, student organisations and other bodies interested in climate change to feed their input to their national moderators.
Input from individual citizens will also be encouraged. The project planners aim to attract about 200 active citizen participants or an average of ten from each country.
MEPs must agree
The participants will be kept informed of all the relevant news and events relating to climate change and the environment via the project’s website, which also features a discussion forum.
If the majority of MEPs on the European Parliament’s Environment Committee and the Temporary Climate Change Committee agree, the sessions the project has chosen to cover will be accessible live via the eCommittee communications architecture. Two master moderators will be present at the committee sessions and will relay questions and comments to the MEPs.
Whether this will happen while the MEPs are meeting, or before or after sessions, remains to be decided. It is uncertain how MEPs and the public will react to the new concept.
However, if it is a success, then the service could lead to more participation in the pan-European democratic process.
Coordinator: NOVITECH A.S., SLOVAK REPUBLIC
|NOVITECH A.S.||SLOVAK REPUBLIC|
|CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK EUROPE ASBL||BELGIUM|
|ASSOCIATION OF ACCREDITED LOBBYISTS TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT||BELGIUM|
|DEUTSCHER NATURSCHUTZRING DACHVERBAND DER DEUTSCHEN NATUR- UND UMWELTSCHUTZVERBAENDE EV||GERMANY|
Last update: 16/10/2008