The Austrian Institute for European Law and Policy, in cooperation with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Danube University, has been organising a series of workshops on the subject of “Open dialogue between institutions and citizens – Chances and challenges.” The third workshop, entitled “Dialogue with non-organised citizens” at the end of January, and focused on how European institutions should exchange their views and ensure an open, transparent and regular dialogue with citizens and representative associations. Officials from the Commission, European Parliament, Council and the EU Ombudsman gave presentations on the possible methods citizens can employ to make themselves heard at EU level. Special attention was then paid to the differences between the right of petition in front of the petition committee (PETI) of the European Parliament, and the new European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). Both of these instruments will increase the participation of citizens in the decision-making process of the EU, thereby transforming it into a more democratic body. All speakers agreed that EU institutions should update their communication tools, develop e-participation and use social media outlets to broaden their target population. The conclusions of the workshops and discussions will be presented on the 5th of March 2012.
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