Sponsored by the Conference of the INGOs

9 November 2017 - 11.00-13.00 - Room 1 - Interpretation: FR/EN/RU

The lab will look into examples of participatory democracy to identify the best ways to involve citizens in  political decision-making processes. During this session, conclusions from the simulation exercise implemented by the Bulgarian School of Politics during the Forum will be presented.

This lab will flow into in the participants’ assembly, taking place the same afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00. All interested participants will have the opportunity to directly experience deliberative democracy, by debating and voting for a key recommendation of this year’s Forum.

Like in real citizens' assemblies, Forum’ participants will take seats in the hemicycle, the heart of the Council of Europe’s decision making process, to deliberate on an issue of global importance.

Useful links

Lab 5 final report

initiative 1 initiative 1

Citizen participation in public hearings to strengthen democracy, Defender of the Public of Audiovisual Communication Services, Argentina

The Argentinean Defender of the Public of Audiovisual Communication Services held 20 regional Public Hearings, three national meetings, and countlesstraining courses to ensure citizens participation. 4,940 people attended the Public Hearings and 10,866 took part in the stages related to its organization since 2013. Public Hearings are spaces for citizen participation, where people can express their opinions about media functioning. It is the first time in Argentine history that a public organization has systematically called upon citizens to voice their opinions about media and taken their comments into consideration when defining public policies. It is a concrete way to strengthen the bond between the State, citizens, and media.





Training and Participation Department Chief, Defender of the Public of Audiovisual Communication Services


Paula Castello studied Communication Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. At the same time, she joined a community radio, FM La Tribu, and gradually became involved with the community media movement. From 2003 to 2011 she was part of the regional coordination office of the World Association of Community Radio - Latin America and the Caribbean (AMARC ALC). Since the creation of the Defender of the Public of Audiovisual Communication Services in 2012, she coordinates the Training and Promotion Direction. She served as a communicator, educator, trainer, producer and writer in different fields and organisations to advocate for communication rights.

initiative 2 initiative 2

The Citizens’ Assembly, Ireland

The Citizens' Assembly is an exercise in deliberative democracy, placing the citizen at the heart of important legal and policy issues facing Irish society today. With the benefit of expert, impartial and factual advice the 100 citizen members consider topics such as abortion rights, demographic changes climate change etc. Their conclusions form the basis of a number of reports and recommendations that will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas, the legislature of Ireland, for further debate by the elected representatives. Members of the Assembly were chosen at random to represent the views of the people of Ireland, and are meant to be broadly representative of society with regards to age, gender, social class, regional spread etc.




Secretary to the Citizens’ Assembly


Sharon Finegan is currently Secretary to the Irish Citizens Assembly. She has spent the majority of her career working in the Department of the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) where she has held a number of roles including Head of Protocol, Head of Economic Policy and Deputy Director of the Northern Ireland and International Division. She also worked in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Sharon holds a Masters Degree in Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from National University of Ireland Galway.

initiative 3 initiative 3

The Plan C, for a citizen-generated Constitution, France

The initiative aims to show that ordinary citizens can read and criticize their constitutions, by encouraging them to write amendments they would like to see ratified Once the population is thus prepared to reflect personally and concretely on its constitution, ”Le Plan C”  aims to promote  a constituent assembly drawn by lot.




Professor of Economics and Management


Born in 1956, Etienne Chouard is Professor of Economics and Management in Marseille (France). Since the French referendum campaign against the European Constitutional Treaty in May, 2005, he has been a member of the Constituent Citizens, a blogger and a lecturer. He specializes in the Constituent process (necessarily citizen) as well ason monetory creation (necessarily citizen)  , as fundamental tools for a true democracy.

Discussants Discussants

Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.



Mayor of Kingersheim


Born in 1951, Jo Spiegel has been mayor of Kingersheim since 1989. He is now retired as a former teacher of physical education and sports (Pulversheim High School from 1976 to 2012). He was Regional Adviser of Alsace from 1986 to 1998 and General Councilor of Haut-Rhin from 1988 to 2015.

moderators moderators


President of the Conference of the INGOs of the Council of Europe


Since 2015, she holds the position of President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University Paris Nanterre, Vice President of European Committee for Home-based Priority Action for the Child and the Family (EUROCEF, INGO with participatory status with the Council of Europe). Her professional and social engagement activities focus on participation in assessing measures for people receiving social work support, access to rights by vulnerable groups, systemic and institutional analysis of the power relations in public policies.



Chair of the Joint Council on Youth and the Advisory Council on Youth

Marko chairs the Advisory Council on Youth, coordinating the work of 30 youth representatives in the field of youth policy, youth and human rights, participation, peace building and global cooperation. His earlier work for the Advisory Council was focused on the education issues as well as cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation.  Marko joined the Advisory Council as former president of European Students' Forum / AEGEE-Europe, representing voice of students towards the main European and international institutions. His experience is based on development of policies and lobbying for student rights, particularly in the field of active citizenship, youth participation, human rights and education with a focus on non-formal education.
ANANIEV Nastimir

Nastimir ANANIEV

Former Member of the Bulgarian Parliament


Presentation of the conclusions from the simulation exercise implemented by the Bulgarian School of Politics during the Forum
rapporteurs rapporteurs
CAUDRON Jean-Michel

Jean-Michel CAUDRON

Director of Communication and Lobbying of the International Federation of Elderly People (FIAPA), Member of the Bureau of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe


Jean-Michel Caudron is a consultant in social engineering and advises local authorities for 26 years, throughout French-speaking Europe, St Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte, as well as in Argentina and Morocco, on their policies on aging. For 16 years, he has accompanied Ministry cabinets in France, Belgium and Luxembourg with his advice, writing reports or conducting action research. For civil society, he was in charge of the draft international convention for the rights of the elderly, brought to the UN by FIAPA for which he is responsible of communication and lobbying. Moreover, he is a member of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe. Specifically, he is responsible for coordinating the work of the INGO Conference on migration and North-South cooperation.



Advocate and researcher, Youth Department's youth delegation

Dominican Republic

Emil Mella is currently a student of Economics, Political Science, and Sustainable Development at Columbia University in the City of New York. Deeply invested in economic development, political equity, and the combatting of corruption in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Mella has presented his views as an individual alongside those of national and NGO representatives to the United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum, as well as at academic conferences, including an event for the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) held alongside the IEA World Congress in Mexico City this past summer. 

LAB 5 - Participatory democracy: an antidote to populism?
Palais de l'Europe, Room 1 9 November 2017 - 11.00-13.00
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