In order to stand up and demand democratic reform of the EU, citizens and organisations across Europe - from Madrid over Athens to Tallinn - will be taking part in the Democratic Europe Day on Saturday, 17th May. In almost 100 events in over 50 cities right across the continent, citizens will be performing creative street actions, engaging in debate, and organising events in public spaces. Shortly ahead of the EU elections, the aim of the action day is to press our new leaders in the European Parliament to strengthen EU democracy, and to call on citizens to use their votes towards a better, more democratic Europe. “The next European Parliament will be critical in deciding which direction Europe will go and whether we are going to be able to get real democracy on the agenda in the EU” states Sophie von Hatzfeldt, campaign activist from Democracy International.
Europe is facing a crisis of democracy: Citizens are being shut out of the political process, and just a few powerful politicians and economic interests are steering Europe from behind closed doors. These concentrations of power are distorting EU policy away from the needs and interests of the citizens and are eroding citizens’ trust and confidence in the European project.
Europe stands at a historic crossroads: will the political executives, technocrats and lobbyists continue calling the shots, or can we build a truly democratic Europe - a Europe that is created and shaped by and for the citizens? Now, on the eve of the European elections, it is crucial that we show our upcoming representatives that the citizens demand more democracy in the EU. Armin Steuernagel, director of the ‘Democratic Europe Now’ campaign states: “Citizens don’t want a Europe in which they feel powerless to a system they cannot change. But we will not sit by while nationalist and extremist groups channel the citizens’ frustration toward destructive outcomes. We must build a movement to call for real democratic reforms.”
‘Democratic Europe Now’ highlights that if no substantial changes in the EU architecture and decision-making structures are made to render them more democratic and transparent, we risk to derail the entire EU project. The campaign therefore makes three demands: first, it calls the new European Parliament to initiate a Convention to work on strengthening democracy in the EU. Second, the Convention process must be open, transparent and inclusive, empowering citizens to participate in the debates and decisions that shape their lives. And third, the citizens must have the chance to vote on the outcome in a pan-European referendum, to ensure that the whole process is geared towards their interests.
For more information on the Democratic Europe Day, please visit www.democraticeuropenow.eu., for a map of all actions see here or contact Armin Steuernagel, www.democraticeuropenow.eu, +49 177 973 7748.