Could deliberative approaches help regenerate democracy? Around the world, democracies are struggling to respond to increasing levels of disinformation, polarisation, erosion of political norms, lack of media plurality, and even full-blown democratic backsliding (including the undermining of civil rights and rule of law).

In order to discuss solutions with citizens, Debating Europe, in partnership with Fondazione Cariplo, organised a series of online focus groups with 40 young Europeans to think of ways to regenerate European democracy. The report summarising the output of our focus group discussions was published at Friends of Europe’s high-level State of Europe roundtable event in Brussels on Thursday 27 October.

You can read the report here.

One of the most popular ideas from citizens was to work to establish and institutionalise deliberative processes (e.g. citizens’ panels such as the Conference on the Future of Europe) into traditional policymaking at European, national and local level.

Want to learn more about deliberative democracy? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

We took some of the comments and ideas on deliberative democracy generated during our discussions and put them to Giovanni Moro, Associate Professor of Political Sociology, Sapienza University of Rome, and Federico Alagna. Adjunct Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna (and an activist in movements and platforms related to municipalism). How would they respond? Check out the video at the top of this post to find out!

How can deliberative democracy be given real power? Could deliberative processes like the Conference on the Future of Europe help regenerate democracy? How can democratic citizen input feed meaningfully into policymaking, without producing ‘democracy washing’ or ‘talking shops’? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Editorially independent content supported by: Fondazione Cariplo. See our FAQ for more details. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


19 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Thank you f.t q!

    Differently, put:

    What is deliberative decision-making?

    “Thus, we define a “deliberative process” as a process allowing a group of actors to receive and exchange information, to critically examine an issue, and to come to an agreement which will inform decision-making (Fearon, 1998)”.

    Examine first: “Why and When Should We Use Public Deliberation?”

    DE: Could deliberative processes like the Conference on the Future of Europe help regenerate democracy?

    1st correction- please replace Europe (44) with EU27! & Define its Real “Actors”
    2nd- what kind of a system?

    My A: sorry, NO! Why?

    This will be just another (wasted) top-down (supranational) attempt to give the present bogged-down ‘Union” experiment- either:
    • another coat of paint
    • or an attempt to extend its life by delivering the patient to the best intensive
    care unit Brussels has!

    There is hardly any chance to plausibly reverse & honestly re-establish convincingly:

    * Respectability, believability, trustworthiness, broad acceptability and increased voters’ enthusiasm in the present EU experiment, which I and probably others (e.g., could be tested by an electronic referendum) are believed to be driven by:

    * a powerful minority network, overly influential, over- eager & determined, suppressing and misrepresenting other or better-suited democratic options in favour of a system which entrenched itself (since the EEC years) by declaring only its rules as lawful & righteous and everything else as unsuitable or detrimental for (“Europe”) = in fact, the EU27 club!

    However- most of us are only ordinary folks from one sovereign country with one vote- not “Actors” or polity- professors- and-

    all our overpaid politicians hide & shine in their absence!

  2. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Please save time with political semantics! Simple, easy, & no more sleepless nights:

    Therefore, based on my vested and unalienable rights as a voter from a still sovereign EU nation, I declare to have carefully deliberated with myself, concluded, resolved and declare the following:

    1) I demand a moratorium on the creeping development of a EU27 unitary state- nicknamed USE.

    2) Demand the return of all unalienable rights annexed by the EU commission so far- which is eternally vested in any self-respecting sovereign UN-acknowledged Nation.

    3) Meaning, that all shared EU competencies (looted) be cancelled and returned to every 27 Members- without delay.

    4) All other sole EU competencies be renegotiated and redefined.

    I do not support the construction of a 2nd (Soviet) Union by stealth! One can just as well capitulate & sell oneself to China or the US.

    Despite- remaining a still proud European!

  3. avatar
    JT HK

    Are you not waking up from the lies of “democracy”? It is through democratic election Hitler, Trump and Biden are chosen leaders of the people. Laymen of government and politics can never have the rational and independent thinking to choose brilliant leaders to bring them peace and prosperity when elections become brainwashing processes under the manipulation of political parties, interest groups and capital…

  4. avatar

    First of all democracy must well defined. Democracy can be differently understood from person to person, from nation to another one.

    • avatar

      How would you define democracy?

    • avatar

      Difficult to describe it in few words here!
      For me democracy goes hand in hand with liberty, equality, freedom of expression, voting rights, protection of my rights, the right to be accepted and included in the society, labour and information market, the right to education, prosperity, health, care, financial and physical security osv.
      If one of these will be comprised, I shall not considere myself living in a democratic society…

    • avatar
      JT HK

      First of all “Democracy” must be better understood what “demo” is representing? The current so-called liberate democracy means only the “liberty” of the rich and capital, not of individuals. If “democracy” cannot even identify who are the subject to serve and who ought to have the priority, what is the use of such political system. Look at all the elected governments of Europe, they are acting against the interest and benefit of their own people by help the US to fight a proxy war in Ukraine, while ignoring their impoverishing people and closing down of business, de-industrialization, etc. When the GDP of a developing country India has just bypassed the UK, when will India catch up with Germany? European advanced capitalist economies are all undergoing a impoverishing process, can you not see how the chaos created by conflicts created during party competition?

    • avatar

      Well, where I live we have democracy!
      You probably think Russian, Chinese, Iranian etc. dictatures are “democracies” for “everyone”! 😃 😃
      Don’t teach us here how to view democracy, because it is not working!
      Ucraina is a dear state of Europe, which is distroyed by Putin/ Russian “democracy” right now and we need to help them!
      Every country in the world being in such a situation should be helped!
      – Why that is bother you so much that we help them? 🤔
      Some European countries did the mistake to make business with Russia for so long and this is the result of those mistakes!
      Don’t worry, we will pass over it!
      I am confident!

  5. avatar

    The world’s governments and democraties need to really take this seriously in future: the unfairness of distribution of power in societies!
    – How can the states avoid the political power to be taken over by criminals (dictators, autocrats, extremists, mentally sick people etc.) and the possibilities of consolidate their power for centuries through coruption?
    These are not just a danger for their own population, they can be, as you know, a big danger for neigbours and partially or even for the whole world?
    – Don’t you think it is unfair that a handfull of people in a state to have the power of changing legislation, have access to most of the country’s finances, to have the power of ordering imprison, have power over justice, start wars, supress internal and national manifestations of liberties, etc.?
    – Don’t you think that it is unfair a country’s population to stand up for their rights with bare hands, just with slogans once their can loose their jobs, their liberty, their lives, they families, their right to be in their own country etc. once those who have the power in the state, at their order is a big army, the whole police and justice system, as well other state authorities?
    – How can be done in the right way, that’s the question? 🙋

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Why you have not mentioned the most dangerous political power, the proxy of foreign political power, who are representing foreign interest rather than EU interest. For example all those who submitted to the American sanctioning of Russia which are threatening survival of EU citizens, closing down of European enterprises and deindustrialization of Europe?

    • avatar

      Move to Russia, if you love their system! Europeans don’t need Russia, Russians and their gas and oil!
      It was a big mistake to depend on them anyway!!

    • avatar
      JT HK

      This is a serious discrimination against the Russia as a nation and a people. Is this what you universal values such as human rights? You are also ridiculously irrational to link up gas and oil with democracy and Russian people. Irrational rushing to support crazy sanctioning of Russian oil and gas without trying any diplomatic dialogue means that people are result of overwhelmingly hatred. Thus, lost the ability to think irrationally. When Europe is proud of its Enlightenment era/spirit which emphasised rational thinking and doing the so-called scientific research as in natural science. Why are you people not doing now? Brainwashed by political ideologies and unable to perform? As human being of the 21st century when the internet is so popular, when travelling are so cheap and we can fly everywhere to explore and see things with our eyes instead of trapped themselves in political calls of politicians and the media without doing fact check.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Now you are depending on American oil and gas which are 4 times more expensive than cheap Russia/European oil and gas. Do you think this is logical and rational choice? A kind of good dependence? What has the Russian people done to you. Throughout European history, Russian has been part of Europe and European people. As it has been recorded and still existing now, European people have their genes mixed up after thousand years of intermarriage. Russia is a close neighbour and even relative which would never move away from Europe. It is just a common sense and a rational thinking to keep good relationships with family and neighbours. By making a mammoth size neighbour an enemy, the ones to suffer are always small European states which have no oil or gas, lack agricultural lands and many other natural resources for development. It is even more dangerous by searching for dependence hundred thousand miles across the Atlantic Ocean. It is far more unreliable.

    • avatar

      Read more history to see how “nice” Russians had behavioured with their European neighbours!
      Russia for centuries has just dictatures at their leadership! Europeans don’t like to deal with dictators and dictatures!
      – Are you obsessed with oil and gas trade? 🤔 😁 There are many sources in the world!
      When about agriculture, I don’t remember to trade with Russia. It is the Middle East and some African counties had bought grains from Ukraine…
      Inform yourself better before you write stuff on Facebook!

    • avatar
      JT HK

      When Europe is following the US to sanction Russia, causing serious food and fuel shortage and mounting inflation and unemployment, post-COVID social and economic failed to resume, the US has doubled Russia imports. Don’t know whether the US is paying in dollar or ruble. How
      “nice” the US have treated his European allies!

    • avatar

      Whatever! Europeans did a mistake trading with Russia anyway! Big mistake!
      Don’t worry, europeans will do just fine also without russian oil and gas!
      Danish people are smart people, even if they have oil and gas from own production, they did big efforts for the last decades to invest in green technology for energy protection. So, not just that they don’t depend on russian gas and oil right now, they even don’t depend on their own production.
      The extraction and use of natural gases and petrolium have to slow down significantly in future due to climate changes.

    • avatar

      You like fake news and Kremlins propaganda! 🙄🙄
      Well, USA is doing a great job in supporting Europe in this very difficult period of time!!
      You have a stone heart if you are not very sorry for ucrainans who are slaughtered by russian soldiers!! This is not even a war, it is a genocide!

    • avatar
      JT HK

      When Europeans are faithfully following the “beacon of democracy” to sanction the evil and authoritarian Russia, your “beacon” is importanting unethical goods of the Russians. 😏😏😏Democracy is never about values but votes and national interest, even less, alliance’s interest.

    • avatar

      Well, you should be more concern about Russian population which deserves better than this dictatorial regime which brings “the whole federation” in chaos and misery!
      They do so many mistakes that I would not be surprised if this is the last period and phase of its terrany!

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