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Projects :: VOICE

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VOICE: VOICE

Giving citizens a voice in EU policy-making

VoicE project
Copyright: VoicE project

Brussels is often accused of being a ‘black box’ that produces legislation affecting all EU citizens but which is slow to listen to their demands. A new project aims to increase transparency and public participation in EU policy-making.

The team working on the VoicE project are developing an internet platform that will not only make for ordinary people to find out about and understand EU laws, procedures and debates, but will also let them have a say in how policy is decided.

The aim is to bring public policy-making into the Web 2.0 era of online information sharing, collaboration and interactivity in order to let everyone exchange ideas and give their opinion on issues that affect them. The project will make e-participation – i.e. using new technologies to get people involved in politics – a reality.

The project partners are using Gov2DemOSS, a state-of-the-art open source content management system, to provide the technological backbone of the system.

Make policy understandable...

During the first phase, the partners are using the platform to host clear and straightforward information about EU legislation so that anyone can understand an important policy issue in just ten minutes.

Clear and accessible information not only increases political transparency but also helps overcome one of the factors that has hampered participatory politics – citizens’ reluctance to read numerous long documents written in a complicated way.

… then let citizens have a say

The platform then offers a means for citizens to contribute their own ideas to debates about the legislation and to get in contact directly with their local Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

The project team are focusing on using the platform at a regional level to ensure politics remains close to citizens, using their MEPs in order to be able to participate in Brussels decision-making.

MEPs, in turn, are better able to understand and respond to the demands of their constituents if the feedback they receive is provided in a structured and clear manner.

Tests in Germany and Spain

A prototype of the platform will be tested initially in the regions of Baden-Württemberg in Germany and in Valencia in Spain.

For the trials, the team is focusing its work on improving citizen input in debates about consumer protection legislation.

Product labelling, for example, is currently a hot topic in Brussels. Many citizens could be expected to have ideas, complaints and concerns that they would like to share with their MEPs about the quality of toys or the ingredients in food, for example.

By logging in to their local e-participation platform they would be able to make their thoughts known, bringing them a step closer to being on an equal footing with lobbyists and special interest groups.

Contact information

SCHEPERS Johanna
Breitscheidstraße 4
70174 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel. +49-711-90715-329
Fax. +49-711-90715-350

Participants

Coordinator: MGF MEDIEN-UND FILMGESELLSCHAFT BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG MBH, GERMANY

Participating partners:

Organisation Country
MGF MEDIEN-UND FILMGESELLSCHAFT BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG MBH GERMANY
UNIVERSITAET KOBLENZ-LANDAU GERMANY
STAATSMINISTERIUM BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG GERMANY
MINISTERIUM FUER ERNAEHRUNG UND LAENDLICHEN RAUM BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG GERMANY
FOERDERVEREIN EUROPA ZENTRUM BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG EV GERMANY
EUROSOC BERATERGRUPPE FUER EUROPAEISCHE FRAGEN KG GERMANY
GOVERNMENT TO YOU GREECE
GENERALITAT VALENCIANA SPAIN
FUNDACION COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA - REGION EUROPEA SPAIN

Last update: 24/02/2009

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