EDI in Brussels
We just got back from the launch of the Everyday Democracy Index (EDI) at The Centre in Brussels. It was a chance to test our ideas with a group drawn from Member States, NGOs, index experts and journalists. Margot Wallstrom, the Vice President of the European Commission, in charge of institutional relations and communication, was there to respond.
Wallstrom heads up “Plan D for Democracy”, the Commission’s long-term plan for engaging citizens in the European policymaking process. (We’re now up to Plan D-3 as it happens). She took issue with our claim that the European democratic deficit is inherited from national governments, suggesting that this is a separate issue, requiring a different set of tools and solutions. She plans to respond to Paul's recent piece on the EDI in Esharp (see p48) in the near future.
There was a great deal of enthusiasm for EDI. One participant said “we talk about representative democracy, or participative democracy, but this could take us into a new debate”. Another person was surprised by the variation in levels of Everyday Democracy in Europe, and questioned the notion they had taken for granted – that there is a single european model of democracy.
This comparative perspective was brought into sharp relief for me when we ran a workshop last week with a group of Latin American academics, NGOs and the Avina Foundation about expanding the EDI to Latin America.
There is huge potential for expanding the index to other regions, for drilling down into particular results or for local disaggregation of results.