The active participation of citizens is essential for democracy. In recent years, member States have witnessed a trend towards falling voter turnout in general elections.

At the same time, citizens are still showing an interest in public affairs and use social media and other internet-based platforms to share opinions and comments on public affairs. Mechanisms of civil participation are being developed and member States have been gaining experience with participatory and deliberative forms of democracy such as citizens’ assemblies, townhall meetings, participatory budgets, referenda to name just a few.

Deliberative and participative democracy clearly have the potential of involving and mobilising citizens in decision-making processes and thus enhancing public trust in government. In its Handbook e-democracy, the Committee also showcased examples of public deliberations that had a digital component.

In 2022, the CDDG will carry out a Study on deliberative and participatory forms of democracy, with a view to complementing Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)4 on the participation of citizens in local public life and the 2017 Guidelines on civil participation in decision-making.

Among others, the Committee will consider best practices and innovative approaches in the above-mentioned fields, highlight impact of quality debates on such principles as accountability, transparency and responsiveness, and elaborate ways for exchanging information and the development of shared learning. Furthermore, the Committee will collect and examine the best European practice in order to draw policy orientations and practical guidelines.

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