Citizens’ panels were one of the three workstreams in the Conference on the Future of Europe via which EU citizens could share and debate their views in order to provide recommendations and advice to the Union on how to face current and expected challenges.
Focusing on the panel on the environment, climate change, and health, it is possible to conclude that the citizens’ recommendations are in support of the European Green Deal and its ambitious climate policy element. However, better design of the deliberative process could have led to more targeted recommendations.
Should citizens’ panels be used as a legitimate tool in the future, it will be necessary to improve the process design to make better use of the unique and advanced EU-wide participatory exercise the Conference helped to popularise. Lessons learned from citizens’ panels on the national and municipal level show that a more specific topic to be discussed in more sessions as well as in-depth expert presentations and overall better engagement with experts are a precondition for high-quality recommendations. Other factors that could be improved include better media coverage, provision of feedback to recommendations by involved EU institutions, some guarantees regarding the uptake of recommendations, or the organisation of panels primarily on national or regional levels.
This paper was written as part of the project “EU Climate Action Dialogue” in collaboration between Association for International Affairs (AMO), Ecologic Institut, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), WiseEuropa, GlobalFocus, Climate Strategy 2050 Institute (CSI2050), Gorichka (Горичка).
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).