|JoiEU Concluding Event|
Tuesday 13 January 2015, 8:00AM - 5:00PM
The mission of the European Citizens' House (ECH) is to help restore to citizens a sense of participation and ownership of the European project.
Since the financial crisis the gap between the EU Institutions and the citizens has become ever wider. Nationalism of a kind spilling over into extreme right wing populism and xenophobia is on the increase. Moreover, among all the prestigious institutional buildings and offices in Brussels, citizens and civil society lack their own space. Civil society organisations see themselves as missing out in terms of access to European funding, sharing of best practices and networking. Commercial and producer interests still make up 85% of the estimated 2,600 associations and 15,000 lobbyists around the EU.
The ECH will be a focal point especially for citizens and European civil society not yet represented in Brussels aiming to engage “the unengaged”.
By the end of 2015, the European Citizens' House should be fully operational at the European level and in the member states, providing services both on the spot in the physical premises in Brussels and on-line through the virtual house.
The European Citizens' Virtual House is being built round the 3Cs:
The key service here is the EU Rights Clinic which has a mission of problem-solving of difficult cases through collective action and contribution to improvements in European policy and legislation.
The section also provides detailed information on the different instruments for European citizen’s rights enforcement – petitions to the European parliament, complaints to the European commission, access to documents and requests to the European Ombudsman. One can read success stories and can also join an initiative.
The section functions as a Resource centre on European issues and civil society. Different types of databases and information will be built up gradually to bring together contacts, models of best practice and research results from Europe. In the first phase it is planned to concentrate on providing advice on funding for cross-border civil society projects as well as opportunities for finding partners and making one’s voice heard with the EU.
The virtual house will be a repository for techniques of citizen participation. There one could find an interactive space both public and secured where citizens will have the opportunity to participate, initiate and shape discussions between themselves and with the EU Institutions. Information on current consultations on EU policies and legislation important for civil society will enable easy contributions and input.
Extensive information on the background, the framework and the current European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI) as well as an on-line help desk can help you initiate an ECI.