The first Europe Wide Deliberative Poll
Tomorrow’s Europe will help understand citizens’ vision of Europe’s future. How? By selecting a truly representative sample of ordinary citizens from all 27 countries in the EU; providing them with objective information about possible options for Europe’s future; then bringing them together for several days of discussion in the European Parliament.
In essence, Tomorrow’s Europe will bring all of Europe in one room. Participant’s attitudes will be measured before and after the discussions. As with previous Deliberative Polls, participants will develop more informed and thoughtful opinions.
The event took place successfully on October 12 - 14 , 2007, at Brussels!
First EU-wide Deliberative Poll successfully creates EU public space
With the support of the Institute of Statistical Research, Analysis and Documentation, 362 European citizens participated over the weekend in Tomorrow's Europe, the first EU-wide Deliberative Poll. With experts and politicians, they discussed challenges and opportunities facing the European Union in the medium term. Aged between 18 and 80, coming from the 27 member states, they carefully exchanged opinions and arguments and put questions to balanced panels of experts and politicians.
Italian finance minister and president of Notre Europe Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa noted after taking part in the event, "This process is an extremely important step to make EU democracy more effective."
In his first answer to the participants' questions, Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev stated: "The method of Deliberative Polling is very useful. In fact, my government intends to use it for education, healthcare and public spending policies."
Danish Member of the European Parliament Jens-Peter Bonde confirmed: "I've become a strong proponent of Deliberative Polling… deliberation changes people's minds."
According to Henri Monceau, co-organiser, "We showed that it is possible to create a European public sphere, where all citizens can engage in the political debate, despite their cultural and educational differences."
"European citizens have demonstrated that they can take part in public life and public decision-making. They just need to be given the chance under appropriate conditions," adds Stephen Boucher, co-secretary general of Notre Europe.
"The process was representative, deliberative, and policy makers paid attention. These are the three criteria of success of a Deliberative Poll," rejoices Prof. James Fishkin of Stanford University, scientific adviser to Tomorrow's Europe and the mind behind Deliberative Polling.
Participants seemed to agree.
"Back at home, when I talk about Europe with my friends, we have similar thoughts," said Alza Zone, a teacher from Latvia and one of the 362 delegates. "Here I really experienced a diversity of opinions." Elena Marka Urszuly, an advertising consultant in Romania added, "I was able to express myself despite the fact that I did not know much about the EU."
Michael Buckley, a real estate agent from Ireland, confirms: "This exercise exceeded my expectations. I did not know at first which questions to ask. Now I know."
Tomorrow's Europe was initiated by the think tank Notre Europe, in the framework of the European Commission Plan D.