EUROPOLIS: A deliberative polity-making project
EuroPolis is a project run by an international team of European universities , funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme and by a network of European foundations , led by the Compagnia di San Paolo.
The project intends to test whether deliberative democracy can contribute to address the democratic deficit in Europe, with particular reference to the next European parliamentary elections.
On May 29-31 2009 Europolis brought 400 European citizens from the 27 member states to Brussels to debate immigration, climate change, and the EU policy- making process- a unique experiment in informed decision-making. Participants spent three days discussing these issues in small working groups, and then in plenary sessions with a battery of experts and election candidates.
EuroPolis is a carefully designed experiment that assesses how political and social attitudes toward EU issues change as a result of exposure to information, and what implications this has for political participation and voter turnout. It provides a unique opportunity to rigorously observe and evaluate how citizens’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour are modified by exposure to thorough and balanced policy information and participation in thoughtful deliberation during electoral periods. Europolis gives citizens of different nationalities the chance to confront one another, policy experts, and political leaders at the European level. This is an innovative instrument for bridging the often-lamented gap between national and European views in EU democracy. EuroPolis is an important event in the history of deliberative democracy.
The EuroPolis project employs the Deliberative Polling ® method, an approach invented by Professor James Fishkin at Stanford University that attempts to put into practice the principle that democratic legitimacy rests on informed opinion, open deliberation, and equal participation of citizens.
EuroPolis is organized by: the University of Siena – Circap (Italy); the University of Essex, (United Kingdom); the University of Mannheim, (Germany); Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, (France); University of Oslo – Arena, (Norway); Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, (Spain); European Policy Centre, (Belgium); Avventura Urbana, (Italy); TNS Opinion, (Belgium); Median Research Centre, (Romania)
The funding of the project has been made possible by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium), Bosch-Stiftung Foundation (Germany), the Open Society Institute (Switzerland).