As part of an effort to make good Europe’s democratic deficit, which had become apparent even before the failed referenda in France and the Netherlands last year, NEF is launching the European Citizens’ Consultation (ECC) initiative, led by the King Baudouin Foundation. An initial agenda-setting meeting in Brussels will involve 200 randomly selected citizens from 25 EU Member States who will identify the priorities for a series of national deliberations.
These will formulate recommendations for the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Europe. ECC results will be fed into the first Europe-Wide Deliberative Polling® (EWDP) in 2007-08. Altogether, the experiment will involve 732 citizens from the 25 EU member countries, reflecting the number of Members each has in the European Parliament.
The place of religion in Europe today
The NEF General Assembly has decided to launch a special initiative on the place of religion in modern European societies. This follows on from an earlier commissioned concept paper on Religious Bigotry and Tolerance in Europe and subsequent discussions among a number of European foundations. More information on this initiative will be given in the next issue of Alliance
First EPIM grants made
Following the launch of the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) programme earlier this year (see the March issue of Alliance), six European-level and five national-level NGOs (two from Portugal and one each from Ireland, Italy and Germany) have been awarded grants. The former include the European Network Against Racism, the European Council for Refugees and Exiles and the European Women’s Lobby. A roundtable discussion for grantees will be organized in December to enable them to exchange information and experience. The results of the grants programme will be fed into a concluding session in June 2007, which will also feature the results of a series of national consultations on integration and migration policies in Europe.