How do we make citizens matter?

30 January 2019 - 12:30 - 14:00

#EuropeMatters is Friends of Europe’s flagship initiative, bringing together business leaders, policymakers, civil society representatives, foresight experts and citizens ahead of the European elections to co-design a Europe that still matters in 2030. 

We are kickstarting the European election campaign with a call to action: ‘The Citizens' Mandate’. This policy insight, based on the mandate given to us from 11 000 EU citizens will be presented at the European parliament to ignite political discussions around citizens’ needs to test policy choices and set out a pathway for the incoming European leadership.   

Our objective is simple – to mobilise a coalition of the willing united by their belief that #EuropeMatters and to together ensure that Europe is better prepared to take strategic action to align the future we face with the future we want.

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#EuropeMatters is a 12 month project bringing together business leaders, policymakers, civil society representatives and citizens to co-design a Europe that still matters in 2030

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How do we make citizens matter

Will parliamentarians step up to their plates

The yellow vests movement; the recent Strasbourg shooting; Brexit and Euroscepticism, increasing differences between the east, south and north of the EU and rising inequalities – all point to a volatile, unpredictable and highly dynamic context for the forthcoming European elections in 2019. Citizens are being courted by politicians appealing to emotional common denominators of fear, lack of security and mistrust.

Yet, from Friends of Europe’s citizen poll we know that they want Europe not less of it. That doesn't mean Europeans are happy with the EU as it is. The survey's key message was: "Without change and reform, the EU will remain irrelevant to a majority of its citizens."  Almost half the interviewees (49%) questioned the relevance of the EU to their own lives, and about two-thirds (64%) were unconvinced that if the EU were to disappear overnight life would be worse.

What citizens also want is greater financial transparency, more say in decision making, priorities to be jobs, safety and climate change. How do we get there? 

Friends of Europe is kickstarting the election campaign with its own call to action: ‘The Citizens' Mandate’ policy insight as part of its year-long initiative #EuropeMatters. The policy insight will ignite political discussions around citizens’ needs at the heart of the debate, setting out a pathway and test the potential policy choices for the next EU mandate.

  • What are the trade-offs ?
  • How will politicians and political groups turn promises into actions - a question of trust?
  • Is coalition politics the way forward and how do we manage this?
  • Should Europe be a value-setter, a market maker, a balancer or a transactor?

Speakers include:
Colombe Cahen-Salvador,
Co-Founder and Policy Lead of VOLT, a new pan-European party. 
Lara Comi, Vice-Chair of the Group of the European People's Party
Merja Kyllönen, Member of the Bureau of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Ricardo Serrão Santos, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats
Helga Stevens, Vice-Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group

Joining them as panellists will be senior representatives from all other European political parties.

Moderated by
Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe


End of debate


Chahaiya Pilkington, Programme Executive, 
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 26
Email: chahaiya.pilkington@friendsofeurope.org 

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Event starts
30 January