Citizen participation refers to the engagement of ordinary citizens, alone or as part of a group, to change and improve their community life. It occurs when citizens attempt to influence policy makers in order to improve the “living well together” principle. The sources of these movements can be multiple: they can be part of institutionalised frameworks; they can be initiated by members of the civil society organisations, or by policy makers themselves. They can also come directly from the citizens in a bottom-up approach.
The European Observatory on Citizen Participation is defined as a platform of information and analysis in line with the organisation’s motto “Understand to act”. It promotes good practices of civil actions in Europe, and is committed to all citizens, from the civil society organisations to policy makers that are willing to inform and act to promote participatory democracy.
This resource website gathers academic publications, legislative texts and rich and complete news on citizenship in Europe. It aims to promote national and local initiatives linked to civil dialogue and any other project allowing citizens to speak out and making sure their demands will be heard.
The objectives of the Observatory are multiple:
- Providing data;
- Promoting research studies;
- Being a European platform for sharing knowledge;
- Disseminating European meetings and forums;
- Advising companies and public authorities;
- Supporting civil society organisations that are encouraging the development of new ideas, by promoting good practices and by keeping them well informed.
This Observatory of Citizenship gathers a rich database on citizen participation and citizenship, combined with a quarterly newsletter; it provides theoretical grounds but also examples of best practices and innovative projects. Through this Observatory we aim to put forward the dynamism of European citizens and their involvement in the political sphere at all levels.