KLIMATYCZNY PANEL OBYWATELSKI EUROPEAN UNION LEVEL

Main components of the model


Introduction

The aim of a climate assembly at the European Union level is to settle specific issues related to establishing EU policy on climate protection. Development of recommendations can be split into a series of citizens’ assemblies on climate protection, for which a new group of participants is randomly selected for each topic. Citizens from all member states are invited to participate in a citizens’ assembly, with the number of participants corresponding to the size of their individual countries’ populations. The form of a citizens’ assembly proposed here can be conducted without need for any changes to be made in the European Union Treaty as they take the form of public consultations. By definition, a citizen’s assembly is an advisory body which is intentionally kept small as far as the number of participants. To make binding decisions on the European level, the formula proposed here can be applied.

In the model proposed here, debates at a national level play an important role, as they familiarise societies of the member states with the subject matter of a given citizens’ assembly. The aim is to transfer a debate on European issues to a local level, so that it is conducted in national languages and presented on national media. Only after this stage do participants from all states meet jointly as citizens of the European Union and work out proposed solutions which are then presented to the European Commission and to the European Parliament. According to the proposed model, the European Commission is the organiser of the European Citizens’ Assembly on climate protection and it is managed by independent coordinators — the main team and national support teams.

Size and composition of the citizens’ assembly

A total of 160 people from all member states and an additional 30 individuals who act as substitutes participate in the citizens’ assembly. The number of participants from individual states is determined using a method similar (or the same) to the method used to calculate the number of seats in the European Parliament allocated to each member state. The minimum number of participants from one state is 2 persons — a woman and a man. All costs for participation in meetings (accommodation, board, and travel) are covered and participants also receive allowances. The size of the citizens’ assembly proposed here (160 persons) is aimed to facilitate the deliberation stage, which limits costs of operation and makes objectives easier to accomplish in a smaller group.

Demographic criteria:

  1. state
  2. gender
  3. age
  4. educational background
  5. place of residence—rural area/town/city (over 100 thousand inhabitants)
  6. other—depending on the state

Workshops for stakeholders

Due to the large number of stakeholders (non-governmental organisations, institutions, universities and/or governmental offices) that may be interested in presenting their position or proposed solutions to a citizens’ assembly at the European Union level, workshops at the level of member states are proposed, the purpose of which is to agree upon arguments and positions shared by groups of stakeholders. During these workshops, proposals as to who will present them to the European Citizens’ Assembly can also be collected.

Debates at the level of member states

Debates on issues covered by the European Citizens’ Assembly on climate protection are organised in each member state. They are attended by representatives of the stakeholders. Debates are transmitted live online and ideally, on TV as well.

Open public consultations

As far as citizens’ assemblies at a city or state level, all citizens have the right to send their proposals for solutions, recommendations or comments to participants of the citizens’ assembly. These are published in whole on-line, and their essence — compiled arguments —are delivered to participants from a given country in writing or by email.

Coordination of the European Citizens’ Assembly

The entire European Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Protection is coordinated by the main coordinating team and supported by national teams from all member states. Materials from individual countries are translated into 24 languages, published on-line and delivered to participants. Meetings of the citizens’ assembly are held on weekends and are generally held once a month.

Example of the number of participants from individual states (including the United Kingdom):

StateNumber of participantsPopulation
Germany1882850000
France1566992000
UK1566238007
Italy1460483973
Spain1246659302
Poland1137976687
Romania719523621
Netherlands617118084
Belgium511413058
Greece510738868
Czech Republic510610055
Portugal410291027
Sweden410120242
Hungary49778371
Austria48822267
Bulgaria37050034
Denmark35781190
Finland35513130
Slovakia35443120
Ireland34838259
Croatia24105493
Lithuania22808901
Slovenia22066880
Latvia21934379
Estonia21319133
Cyprus2864236
Luxembourg2602005
Malta2475701
Total160512418023