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Empowering women in the EU and beyond: Leadership and conflict resolution

02-03-2017

Experts agree that much depends on women being involved on an equal footing in political leadership, as well as corporate governance, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict power structures. In most societies around the world, women hold only a minority of decision-making positions in public and private institutions. Yet for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for ...

Experts agree that much depends on women being involved on an equal footing in political leadership, as well as corporate governance, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict power structures. In most societies around the world, women hold only a minority of decision-making positions in public and private institutions. Yet for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. Furthermore, the European Union has increasingly recognised that conflict and crisis management are not gender-neutral and has introduced numerous gender policies and initiatives to forward the aims of landmark United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 (2000).

Involvement of the National Parliaments in SCPs and NRPs – 2014, 2015 and 2016

10-01-2017

This paper, updated on an ad hoc basis by the Economic Governance Support Unit, provides an overview of the involvement of national parliaments in the preparations of the National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes based on information provided by the Member States in the respective programmes and supplementing information received from the representatives of national parliaments.

This paper, updated on an ad hoc basis by the Economic Governance Support Unit, provides an overview of the involvement of national parliaments in the preparations of the National Reform Programmes and Stability or Convergence Programmes based on information provided by the Member States in the respective programmes and supplementing information received from the representatives of national parliaments.

Potential and Challenges of e-Participation in the European Union

06-06-2016

This study was commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee. European countries have started exploring e-participation as a way to regain citizens' trust and revitalise European democracy by developing a more responsive, transparent and participatory decision-making process. The main objectives of the study are to identify best practices in EU Member States, describe e-participation ...

This study was commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee. European countries have started exploring e-participation as a way to regain citizens' trust and revitalise European democracy by developing a more responsive, transparent and participatory decision-making process. The main objectives of the study are to identify best practices in EU Member States, describe e-participation tools and initiatives at the EU level, and explain the benefits and challenges of e-participation.

External author

Elisa LIRONI (European Citizen Action Service - ECAS)

Referendums on EU issues

18-05-2016

Referendums give citizens a direct say over matters which would otherwise be decided by elected (or non-elected) representatives. Thus, as instruments of direct democracy, they may foster citizens' involvement and legitimise important decisions. In fact, referendums have been on the rise in Europe and elsewhere in the world in recent decades, and have become a recurrent feature of European politics. Since 1972, Europe has seen 54 referendums on EU matters, concerning membership, treaty ratification ...

Referendums give citizens a direct say over matters which would otherwise be decided by elected (or non-elected) representatives. Thus, as instruments of direct democracy, they may foster citizens' involvement and legitimise important decisions. In fact, referendums have been on the rise in Europe and elsewhere in the world in recent decades, and have become a recurrent feature of European politics. Since 1972, Europe has seen 54 referendums on EU matters, concerning membership, treaty ratification or specific policy issues (e.g. adoption of the euro); further referendums are to follow in 2016. At the same time, the degree to which EU countries make use of referendums differs significantly: while the majority of Member States have held one referendum on European integration, mostly relating to membership, a handful resort to referendums more frequently. Despite the increased interest in some states, referendums remain controversial. On the one hand, advocates of direct democracy stress that referendums can, inter alia, foster citizens' engagement and thereby improve legitimacy and governance. Critics, on the other hand, highlight the pitfalls of referendums. Especially in the aftermath of the French and Dutch rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005, they suggest, inter alia, that in referendums voters tend to answer questions other than those on the ballot paper. Some critics, more generally, question the suitability of a 'yes' or 'no' vote to decide on complex, multidimensional matters within the European setting. Looking at a sample of past EU referendums, the following pages provide an overview of these conflicting views, as expressed in (academic) commentary.

EYE 2016 – Future of Europe: Remember we have a choice!

27-04-2016

Political engagement and participation in Western democracies have decreased in recent years. At the European Union level, years of criticism of its supposedly inherent democratic deficit and lack of legitimacy have undermined citizens' trust in the EU as a political actor. Recent developments in EU governance, however, show increasing efforts to find innovative ways of engaging citizens. This note has been prepared for the European Youth Event, taking place in Strasbourg in May 2016. Please click ...

Political engagement and participation in Western democracies have decreased in recent years. At the European Union level, years of criticism of its supposedly inherent democratic deficit and lack of legitimacy have undermined citizens' trust in the EU as a political actor. Recent developments in EU governance, however, show increasing efforts to find innovative ways of engaging citizens. This note has been prepared for the European Youth Event, taking place in Strasbourg in May 2016. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

An overview of the EU Youth Strategy 2013-2015

27-01-2016

Against a backdrop of high youth unemployment and the threat of marginalisation, the European Union (EU) Youth Strategy encourages Member States to consider young people as a resource, by developing specific actions within youth policy and by working with other areas in a cross-sectoral approach. Coordination between youth and educational policies in order to develop competencies that are sought after by labour markets, as well as entrepreneurial abilities and civic skills is a particular priority ...

Against a backdrop of high youth unemployment and the threat of marginalisation, the European Union (EU) Youth Strategy encourages Member States to consider young people as a resource, by developing specific actions within youth policy and by working with other areas in a cross-sectoral approach. Coordination between youth and educational policies in order to develop competencies that are sought after by labour markets, as well as entrepreneurial abilities and civic skills is a particular priority in the Strategy. Other areas of EU policy are also concerned; a complex array of issues needs to be addressed, such as youth mobility, the transmission of poverty, participation in sports and culture, social integration, health and wellbeing, political participation, and an engagement with world issues. The EU Strategy is governed by the Open Method of Coordination, a soft approach applied in areas of policy where the EU has no legislative power. Evidence-based policy-making is at its heart and the approach is based on the quantitative measurement of a set of indicators, as well as peer-learning activities that promote policy reforms. Young people's active engagement is established through a process known as 'structured dialogue', bringing them into contact with policy-makers, but a more representative participation and concrete improvements on the ground remain challenges for the future. The European Parliament contributes to the debate on the Strategy by issuing own-initiative resolutions ahead of the Council and Commission joint reports which review implementation every three years.

Participatory budgeting: An innovative approach

04-01-2016

Experts in the budgetary field see participatory budgeting as an innovative solution to promote inclusive democracy, and further modernisation and accountability in the public sector. Participatory budgeting is believed to allow civil society and public administrators to jointly determine spending priorities, through 'co-decision' measures. Cooperation is expected to reduce conflicts and to favour broader acceptance of budgetary decisions. The first experiments with citizens' participation in budgetary ...

Experts in the budgetary field see participatory budgeting as an innovative solution to promote inclusive democracy, and further modernisation and accountability in the public sector. Participatory budgeting is believed to allow civil society and public administrators to jointly determine spending priorities, through 'co-decision' measures. Cooperation is expected to reduce conflicts and to favour broader acceptance of budgetary decisions. The first experiments with citizens' participation in budgetary matters were conducted in Latin America in the late 1980s. It is estimated that there are now between 618 and 1 130 examples of participatory budgeting in Latin America, representing almost a third of the instances of participatory budgeting worldwide. In Europe, between 2005 and 2012, experiments with participatory budgeting increased from 55 to over 1 300, involving more than 8 million EU citizens. Not only national authorities, but also supranational administrations, including the European Union (EU), incentivise the use of participatory budgeting among governments and sub-national authorities. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided over US$280 million in loans and grants in support of participatory budgeting-related projects in at least 15 countries. At EU level, participatory budgeting has been introduced through funding programmes such as URB-AL. Between 2003 and 2010, URB-AL managed €5 million and involved 450 local governments and civil society representatives in Latin America; its objectives include promoting participatory budgeting to strengthen budgetary transparency and accountability.

Major changes in European public opinion towards the EU since1973

08-07-2015

This desk research focusses on the major shifts in European public opinion towards the European Union since 1973, when Eurobarometer was created by Jacques-René Rabier. The results are presented in a timeline and illustrate the evolution of citizens' opinion in the key phases the Union's institutional, political, economic and social development. The main findings on the evolution of public opinion in the last 40 years - from 1973 to 2014 - show that it has gone up and down, notably in response to ...

This desk research focusses on the major shifts in European public opinion towards the European Union since 1973, when Eurobarometer was created by Jacques-René Rabier. The results are presented in a timeline and illustrate the evolution of citizens' opinion in the key phases the Union's institutional, political, economic and social development. The main findings on the evolution of public opinion in the last 40 years - from 1973 to 2014 - show that it has gone up and down, notably in response to financial, economic and social crises. The major institutional and political staging-posts in the EU's development have generally improved the perception of the EU. This is particularly true of enlargements and elections to the European Parliament. This analysis shows the overriding influence of the economic and social context on public opinion. This is very well illustrated by the financial and economic crisis which began in 2008, prompting a sharp decline in indicators of support for the EU. However, even in this context of crisis, results show that Europeans remain committed to Europe when it comes to basic EU values.

How the EU budget is spent: Europe for Citizens (2014-2020)

02-07-2015

The European Union (EU) programme, Europe for Citizens (EFC), aims at encouraging direct participation of citizens at EU level and promoting dialogue between the EU institutions, civil society organisations and municipalities. The programme has been running since 2004. For the 2014-20 period the EFC focuses on enhancing European citizens' awareness of remembrance and the history of the EU, and on actively involving European civil society in shaping EU policy.

The European Union (EU) programme, Europe for Citizens (EFC), aims at encouraging direct participation of citizens at EU level and promoting dialogue between the EU institutions, civil society organisations and municipalities. The programme has been running since 2004. For the 2014-20 period the EFC focuses on enhancing European citizens' awareness of remembrance and the history of the EU, and on actively involving European civil society in shaping EU policy.

2014 European Elections: Profile of voters and non-voters

02-06-2015

A few months after the 2014 European elections, the time has come to examine in depth the reasons for participation and abstention in the contest. The Directorate-General for Communication in the European Parliament has commissioned desk research to analyse the electoral behaviour of voters and non-voters, in order to better understand the reasons underlying their decision either to vote or abstain, and to analyse their attitudes and opinions regarding the EU. This document is based on a post-election ...

A few months after the 2014 European elections, the time has come to examine in depth the reasons for participation and abstention in the contest. The Directorate-General for Communication in the European Parliament has commissioned desk research to analyse the electoral behaviour of voters and non-voters, in order to better understand the reasons underlying their decision either to vote or abstain, and to analyse their attitudes and opinions regarding the EU. This document is based on a post-election survey of more than 27,000 Europeans over the age of 18 (16 in Austria), carried out by TNS Opinion a few days after the vote, between 30 May and 27 June 2014.  It is divided in three parts: the desk research on voters and non-voters, and two series of factsheets per EU Member State, one dedicated to voters and another to non-voters. For Belgium, Luxembourg (compulsory vote for both countries) and Malta (high level of turnout), a factsheet on non-voters is not provided, given the low number of non-voters. ***This document is available in all EU official languages in the Eurobarometer page of Europarl.

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