EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY GROUP: Exploring Pathways To Citizens Participation

Democracy in Europe is challenged, and traditional forms of democracy, such as elections, seem not able to close the growing gap between citizens and politicians. Citizen trust in governments—in particular, EU institutions—is low, and there is a need to (re-)engage citizens with European politics and policies. There are different ideas about how to achieve this: through venues for direct democracy, new forms of citizen involvement in decision-making, or just by using existing structures and communicating more clearly.

The European Democracy Group is an initiative that aimed at exploring ways to improve democratic participation in the European Union. Organised by Carnegie Europe and the European Movement International, the project consisted of a series of regular small-scale discussions between analysts, civil society representatives and policy-makers in Brussels. Every three or four months over two years, the same core group of 20-25 experts and officials convened over dinner to explore questions related to enhancing citizen participation in European integration.


  1. Filling the gap between citizens and politics
    The project creates a space for exchange between otherwise separate ideas.
  2. Looking beyond existing (and/or exhausted) discussions
    Each meetings aims at widening and deepening the discussion on European democracy and come up with new ways to answer to the challenges.
  3. Offering practical alternatives to electoral democracy
    By bringing citizens and officials together, the discussions seek to explore what ideas could work on the European level.


The project gave a platform to those people and organisations that voice alternatives for traditional European democracy, in an open and participatory setting. In total, 6 meetings were help over two years, addressing the topics of citizen participation, the retreat of democracy in Europe, the dilemmas of EU’s direct democracy, digital democracy and the future of EU’s democracy, among others.

Partners and Donors

This project receives the support of the Warwick Impact Fund.



Democracy, Citizen Participation, European Integration


December 2017 – January 2020


Maja Bobic
Head of Projects & Fundraising



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