Brussels is not Europe, and the discussions that take place here are far from representative of the issues that concern many of Europe’s citizens. Governments across the world are struggling with this disconnect as citizens show an increasing lack of trust in politics and politicians.
Much of this disconnect is to do with matters of poor governance, corruption and bad management. It is also to do with how governments and policymakers make decisions, craft policy and share power with citizens. Power-sharing involves using the principles and methods of coproduction, co-creation and being more transparent and accountable. In this area of expertise, Friends of Europe provokes debate, discussion and challenge current thinking on citizen engagement – its purpose, outcome and process. By involving and engaging citizens directly with practitioners from NGOs, governments, entrepreneurs and tech savvy communities, we aim to improve and develop thinking, debate and policy making to devise better and more meaningful citizen involvement and engagement to improve their trust and the stake citizens have in their future and in the work of the EU. The pace of change in this early part of 21st Century demands a paradigm shift in the approach to the relationship between the state and citizen.
Friends of Europe works to foster discussion on the full range of grassroots issues facing Europe, and to challenge traditional top-down’ thinking with a citizen-driven ‘bottom up approach. We do this by hosting citizen meet ups in cities across Europe and via Debating Europe, our online debating platform.