Considering the extent to which EU policies shape our daily lives, a higher participation of civil society in the process of decision-making at the EU level should be guaranteed to make democracy work better. In light of this, our talk will present Politix EU as a positive innovative example of both the use of digital tools to improve transparency and how civil engagement can be encouraged in the policy-making process.
The idea behind the project is to support and improve representative democracy, asking citizens to vote in favour or against recent EU proposals, by using a clear and simple procedure: thumbs up, thumbs down. The session will thus draw particular attention to the platform’s innovative approach and its other elements of novelty, such as the above-mentioned voting tool or the feature of directly comparing the European Parliament voting behaviour to the users' expressed opinion, which creates a space for constructive participatory dialogue.
A short introduction to how the platform works will be followed by in-depth considerations on how the project aims to continuously foster the dialogue between politicians and citizens. We will elaborate on our vision, which is to close the feedback loop between citizens and decision makers, by showing citizens what an abstract legislative proposal could mean for their lives and by giving them the chance to share their opinion on a given proposal with policy-makers and the community around them. We want to break the vicious cycle of important decisions being discussed and taken only by politicians and a few key interest groups. The final goal is that Members of the European Parliament will be “guided” by the voting behaviour of citizens. Representative democracy is supposed to be based on interactions between citizens and decision makers. In the digital age, an absence of interaction between these players appears outdated and unnecessary.
In the last part of the session, a debate will be encouraged, in view of gathering feedback from the audience. Among the topics to be addressed in the discussion, the focus will be in particular on the challenge of increasing users' engagement, the opportunities for improvement and the potential transferability of the presented approach to other contexts or levels of governance.