The publication ‘YOU4EU Policy Recommendations’ is the result of the project ‘YOU4EU – Citizen Participation 2.0’. A list of conclusions and recommendations aimed at improving transparency and civic participation across Europe.
This publication highlights that, in Europe, there is a pressing need to improve citizen participation in decision-making processes, not only at the EU level, but also at national and local levels. However, there is still a long way to go in Europe: communication channels with citizens must improve, and responses to requests must be faster and more comprehensible, leaving aside confusing administrative terminology.
There is also an urgent need to achieve greater transparency inside the EU institutions. There is still a lack of transparency on the allocation and spending of EU funds. In addition to this, there is a lack of transparency on decision-making processes, with lobbyists still having a large influence over decisions, something that can go unseen and can be difficult to map.
The report calls for the publication of some datasets that are key to fight corruption, such as the company and land registers.
The right of access to information must be guaranteed by national laws that are fully in line with international standards. Some of the recommendations on access to information and civic participation included in this publication are:
- EU institutions should increase transparency in decision-making, financial transparency so citizens know how EU funds are allocated and spent, and lobby transparency, setting up a mandatory Lobby Register. The EU should also establish minimum standards on the right to access to information for both EU and accession countries.
- National governments should strengthen Information Commissioners and ensure that sanctions for non-compliance with national access to information laws are established. National governments should sufficiently train public officials, members of parliaments and judges to guarantee an effective exercise of the right of access to information.
- Civil society should train citizens on active participation and press governments to use and develop e-participation tools.
At the end of the publication, national recommendations can be found for those countries who were part of the project: Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain.
YOU4EU is a project funded by the EU ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme.