- Client: European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs
- Duration: 2005-2007
The European Citizens’ Panel was a pilot bottom-up initiative which engaged citizens from ten different regions in Europe in a reflection on policies affecting rural areas.
The scheme's remit stated the following: "The global objective of the European Citizens’ Panel is to encourage a bottom-up contribution from citizens to the discussion on the future of European policies affecting rural areas. The initiative aims to create a mechanism that will enable European citizens to draw up and disseminate proposals on the future of rural areas in Europe, based on comprehensive and unbiased information provided by decision-makers, experts and stakeholders. This document will be presented to institutions and key stakeholders at the European level. The institutions having supported the panel’s work at regional level (regional authorities, foundations, etc.) will also be the formal targets of these recommendations addressed to them by their own citizens. These will also be widely disseminated to the general public."
The initiative operated at two levels:
- At the regional level, citizens, selected to represent the diversity of the population, participated in panels to debate rural issues and make recommendations to their respective policy-makers. This work drew on information provided by key stakeholders and experts with an interest in rural affairs.
- At the European level, a number of citizens from each regional panel met in Belgium for three days of discussions focused on a wide range of European challenges relating to the future roles of rural areas.