Q and A - Engaging all People in Shaping Europe’s Future (EPSEF)

As part of the preparation up to the application to Europe for Citizens with deadline 1 March we have received several questions from national partner organisations, national technical partner organisations and potential partners. To save time we encourage everybody first to look at this page with Q and A before writing emails to us. We bring several questions and answers on this page and hope they will help you.

Division of tasks between partner organisations.

Q: I have a question about the distribution of tasks between multiple national partner organisations - see the case of Bulgaria. What do you envisage in that respect?

A: We hope that the opinions and political profiles of the national partners will be different, and that you might have a diversity of proposals and recommendations to the citizens in order to have the broadest and fullest possible discussion. I.e. as a thought example and a simple perspective - one organisation might be in favour of very limited authority with the EU-institutions and more with the member states, and another organisation might be in favour of a much closer integration within EU. I attach the White Paper from the EU Commission last year as an example of different perspectives. 
Ideally, we would be happy if the national partners speak together. You might even make events or media events together, where you could contrast each other’s’ point-of-views. In order to reflect the wishes of the citizens it is important to include also those who normally do not engage in politics and probably it is easier to do in collaboration than alone. We want everybody to feel that they can have an influence in making EU better in the future. And this can of course be different directions between different persons.

Expectations from national partner organisations 

Q: 1) In each country there will be 2 partner organizations - one "national partner"and one  "technical partner" that will share responsibilities for carrying out discussions - on and off line - engaging as many of our countrymen as possible to contemplate the future of Europe. Is this right, and if yes, shall we understand that our organization is invited to be the National Partner and there will be another one - and which? - that will be your technical partner in Bulgaria?
2) You will be providing a web-site, language interface and other support for the on-line activities, as well as training for 1 representative of the National partner, as well as eventual volunteers, whose keeping will be covered by you for the duration or part of the duration of the project which will be from June thru Nov 2018.  If this is right, are you going to provide volunteer to the National partner or the Technical partner of both and for how long?
3)You will take upon yourselves to submit the result of the discussions to the December summit and further press the European institutions to listen to the voice of the European citizens so to say. Is the national partner responsible for summarizing the results from the national discussion, for a report etc?

A:  Reg 1: Yes, there might however be more than one national partner..We will today or latest tomorrow be able to identify the technical partner. For us it is important that it is an organisation with professional experience from scientifically based consultations with citizens and a non-profit organisation that is perceived as absolutely neutral in relation to EU and EU-policies. You are welcome to recommend some.
Reg 2: Provided that we receive the funding we apply for this is correctly understood. If you read the guidelines for volunteers through the European Solidarity Corps and your organisation and your needs fit in, we are very happy to forward your needs within our application.
Reg 3: It is in our own interest to have as much prominence for the policy proposals as possible when they come out of this process. We hope to be requested to deliver the results to the Summit and if not we shall advocate as strongly we can. The same with the European institutions. However, the more active the various organisations are in presenting the results to their national parliaments and governments or to push towards the EU-institutions, the better.
There are no reporting demands to the national partners – except that we will collect a post-process evaluation from all of you to improve this process next time.
For the technical partner there are different – typically online inputs – that they will have to deliver.

Expectations from National Technical Partner Organisations

Q: it would be very beneficial at this moment if you could share with us the scope of work of the online editor. And also inform us about the language on the online platform, which needs to be local in order to reach the broader population. What about the quality control?

A: The following description of the online editor is at a very early stage and will develop with the manual and technical platform, after we have received a grant. So take it with some reservations. We imagine that we will have first 3 days about what are the key issues to improve within the future EU, and then 3 days on what sort of political tools should be considered. We might end up with only one of the options. 

The national partner organisations can present their priorities on their websites – in whatever format they prefer – and we can make a button and a link directly to the website, so visitors to the online platform themselves can choose to learn about x organisation’s opinions by pressing the button. We expect to give 10-20 options on issues to improve and let all the visitors to the online platform give their vote and preference. 

The debate as such – since this is the first time and will be with limited resources – I believe it will be a possibility for every citizen to give an opinion either through Twitter or in the size of a tweet in a corner of the platform, where messages from citizens could be placed. The editor would then only remove those who are attacking each other at a personal and rude level. 

It is very obvious that the online platform must have interfaces in local language. And that also the document describing the issues that are debated must be translated. Technically, we have not made a decision yet about a final solution, but the technical solution is the responsibility of the Danish Board of Technology, while the translation between English and local language will be the responsibility of the local technical partner. The amount of translation of documents should be max 10 pages and then there will be links to sources in local language or English, but we expect very few going that far. Ideally we would be able to make quality control, but the budget
restricts us to trust in our technical partners.