More emphasis on citizen participation at grassroots level through Congress monitoring and exchange of good practice
A report on direct involvement of citizens in decision-making processes at grassroots level in Council of Europe member states was adopted on 18 October 2011, at the 21st Congress. The report, presented by Marjan Haak-Griffionen, Netherlands, assesses direct democracy procedures at local and regional level and current trends in citizen participation.
Participatory democracy – which is complementary to representative democracy and the influence on decision-making through universal suffrage – is to be seen as an essential element of the good democratic functioning of society and has to be further developed, according to the report.
In addition to existing procedures of direct democracy, such as local referendums or popular initiatives, the report advocates to encourage local and regional authorities to also make use of new information and communication technologies, to set up citizen networks and to promote the implementation of pro-active mechanisms such as online publication of raw government information and participatory budgeting. "The Congress believes that, in times of increasing cuts to local and regional authority allocations and disenchantment of citizens with the political process, it is more important than ever that citizens actively participate at the level closest to them", says Marjan Haak. (more ...)
Mayor of Turin, Italy
| Marjan HAAK-GRIFFIOEN, Netherlands (EPP/CD),