Translating pan-European Debates into National Public Spheres: A Discussion of the National Citizens’ Consultations

The activity organised by OpenEUdebate in the context of the Erasmus days 2020 is an opportunity for students from partner European Universities to introduce themselves and their views to each other. The activity consist in the preparation of students video analysis on citizens’ participation in the Future of Europe debate, the webcasting of those through OpenEUdebate YouTube and Twitter channels and a structured virtual debate on 15/10. This is the introduction to 6 weeks-long student-led debate on the future of the EU that will continue in the form of seminars where students will work in multinational groups to prepare an agenda to be discussed in a deliberative forum on 26/11.

Public activities

1.Translating pan-European Debates into National Public Spheres: videos broadcasting from 15/10 09.00 am on OpenEUdebate YouTube and Twitter

2. A Discussion of the National Citizens’ Consultations: Student-led debate on 15/10, 11.30 am – 12.20 pm CET. Via Zoom

The national citizens consultations are a first in pan-European deliberative democracy in relation to the future of Europe. However, several authors and institutions are pointing out significant methodological differences between the Member states consultations and between national and EU consultation procedures (see for instance Stratulat and Butcher 2018), making it virtually impossible to compare citizens demands. Furthermore, some argue that differences go beyond method and are substantive, in that there is no general agreement about the normative objectives of the participative fora.

The objective of this exercise is to provide OpenEUdebate member students with an opportunity to take part in this debate. The activity will meet different complementary goals: 

– Firstly, students will become familiar with the debate on the future of Europe (2016 – 2019) that is likely to shape the Conference of the Future of Europe, at least as forms of citizens’ participation.

– Secondly, students will become familiar with different conceptions of citizens’ participation and with the different policy streams that have promoted it in the EU.

– Thirdly students will be able to discuss about normative and methodological differences between different forms of organising citizens’ involvement in EU policy-making and make a contribution to public debates with their proposal.

This will be done by applying OpenEUdebate translation methodology linking their classes to current debate: students will be tasked with comparing the reports from different member states and translate their analysis into a short video summarising their analysis and proposals. Videos will be released before the Erasmus days and during the Erasmus days 2020 on 15th October 2020 the different teams will debate their contributions and seek further ways of collaboration. Their reflection will feed the deliberative forum that UAM will coordinate during the fall (activity number 2) with proposals substantive policy issues and methods.

Students will work in groups of two to four. They will work in groups from 8th to 14th October analysing forms of national consultations on the European issues organised between 2018 and 2020, either national consultations (European Council 2018), European Commission pan-European consultation or national fora on issues such as climate change (France or Sweden to name just two). Students will choose the topics of their analysis which can include, but is not limited, to normative political theory (i.e. underlying assumptions about democracy and the demos), consultation methods (participant selection, agenda setting, resources, role of experts) or substantive issues (evidence of policy learning, new policy proposals) but videos should include both a short summary of their analysis (including possible internal debates) and make a policy proposal.


The videos should not be longer than 3 minutes and should address the following 3 issues:

– Assessment of one aspect of national consultations on Europe

– Proposals on participatory designs to be applied to the conference on the Future of Europe

– Ideas on how EU programmes such as Eramus can be used to reach out to citizens in debates about Europe

Recommended reading

Council of the EU (2018). Citizens’ consultations – Executive summaries. 14791/18, available from:

European Commission (2019) Consultation on the Future of Europe

Stratulat, C., & Butcher, P. (2018). The European Citizens’ Consultations: Evaluation Report. D/2018/10.825/1. European Policy Centre. Available at: