Encouraged by the positive rections from various quarters to our innovative Shadow Report project the decision to take the next steps and capitalise on the many proposals emerging from the process leading to this non-conventional citizens’ product should not be a surprise.
The core idea remains the same: let’s bring under one roof the different civil society organisations from the four macro-regions: the Baltic Sea, the Danube, the Adriatic-Ionian and the Alpine Regions. Even if they operate under different conditions and circumstances they also face common challenges ranging from the energy crises through climate change to the war in Ukraine. There is a growing understanding that we, societal actors have a huge and frequently unusual potential what should be used for the promotion of economic, social and territorial cohesion.
As a logical response to this recognition the idea has emerged to create conditions for a systemic involvement of regional and local communities in shaping and implementing EU macro-regional policies in the form of a civil strategy. Sounds ambitious and challenging. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say and we have started the tasting the idea in Vienna on 14 April 2023 when civil actors close to 70 assembled from all the 14 countries of the Danube Region and even beyond and had discussions in a creative spirit.
The idea of European House Budapest, the event host is to institutionalise citizen dialogue and establish an adequate and supportive framework for a strategic ground-based community involvement of covering the 4 macro-regions received broad support with arguments that
- such a new arrangement can significantly contribute to the attainment of macro-regional objectives;
- the partnership and participatory principle should be strictly applied;
- it significantly increases the ownership feeling of citizens and increases trust;
- the open and creative involvement of young people is a must;
- citizen-driven innovative ideas should be embedded into mainstream MRS processes and
- pro-European mobilisation of citizens at the 2024 European Parliamentary elections is an important task.
A Concept Note for a possible civil strategy with accompanying questions serves as a basis for future online and in-person discussions.
What are the next steps?
Our plan is to organise similar preparatory events in the other 3 macro-regions:
Rome on 23 June for the EUSAIR
Switzerland in September for the EUSALP
Stockholm on 9 November for the EUSBSR
The concluding event of the process is a Citizen Agora in Budapest on 7-8 December 2023 with the adoption of the proposed EU macro-regional civil strategy.
In the meantime, please have your say and send your answers to our questions. You can send us just one question or answer all of them. Every opinion counts!
The questionnaire is available here
Stay tuned and join us in making a meaningful citizen contribution to the EU macro-regional strategies.