Civil society organisations (CSOs) are representatives of and in direct contact with citizens; therefore, they have a strong role to play in holding the European Parliament accountable to the public. In 2016, halfway through the 8th parliamentary term, an open coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from all walks of life came together under the ON OUR WATCH project to reflect on the European Parliament’s achievements and check progress against politicians’ promises and citizens’ demands during the 2014 European elections. The project aimed to prepare for the 2019 elections by providing a platform that lays out the key issues that European citizens care about and monitor the European Parliament’s response to them.
The ON OUR WATCH project was developed by 23 CSOs in a participatory way and on the basis of co-creation. The European Movement International (EMI), together with the European Youth Forum and Citizens for Europe, took the lead in the project development, reaching out to other CSOs to join and provide input into the project as it was in the stages of development. EMI was also responsible for reaching out to political parties.
- Create a platform for civil society organisations to showcase their demands
OnOurWatch is a joint platform for civil society organisations, showcasing their demands of the 2019 European Parliament elections and whether, or to what extent, parliament has considered those demands, including election manifestos and pledge campaigns.
- Make important information easily accessible to the public and citizens at large
As CSOs are representatives and in direct contact with citizens from across Europe, their demands reflect the main issues Europeans care about. They are easily accessible on the online platform OnOurWatch.
The platform gathered 24 issues that reflect citizens’ main concerns, the responses of 7 European political parties to those issues, and a vote comparator to help citizens make an informed choice for the 2019 elections. Each participating CSOs provided three forward-looking policy recommendations for each selected topic, including but not limited to migration, digital rights, and a democratic Europe.