The European Parliament elections (May 2014) and the Eurobarometer survey (2013) clearly reveal the rise of “Euroscepticism” across Europe, with most European citizens having reconsidered their attitudes towards European integration during the EU economic crisis.
The proposed civil society project address the need for enhancing the democratic and civic participation of citizens at EU level, focusing especially in the energy and climate change policy field.
- Encourage democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level, by developing citizens’ understanding of the Union policy making-process and promoting opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering at Union level.
- Foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level.
- Debate on the Future of Europe
The selection of this policy field area serves the main objectives of the project as follows:
It is a policy area that is not directly connected with the EU economic crisis and, therefore, it favors a creative public dialogue about the EU integration, eliminating the prejudices of the local society in favor of or against the EU cooperation, which are strongly related with the recent economic development. As a result, the enhancement of the citizens’ understanding on the EU policy making-process is better enabled.
The implementation of the advanced EU climate and energy policy as well as the unilateral targets adopted for 2020 and 2030 reveal the willingness of the EU to maintain its global leadership role in this policy field. The EU is well on track to meet the 2020 targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and renewable energy, while significant improvements have been made in the energy intensity thanks to more efficient buildings, products, industrial processes and vehicles. The EU climate change and energy security policy can been viewed as EU success story, which reveals that common problems can be solved more effectively through closer cooperation of the EU countries, based on trust and long-term reciprocity.
Moreover, the energy and climate change policy is considered as a vehicle for stimulating economic growth and, therefore, moving the EU forward. Thus, it is strongly linked with the debate on the Future of Europe and it remains at the top of the EU political agenda in 2015. “A resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy” is one of the 10 priorities identified for 2015 by the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. In addition, the policy framework for climate and energy for 2030 agreed by the European Council on October 2014 aims to drive progress towards a low-carbon economy, which ensures competitive and affordable energy, creates new opportunities for growth and jobs and provides greater security of energy supplies and reduced import dependence for the Union as a whole.
The planned actions will address mainly to the citizens of the 5 least developed Greek regions [Central Macedonia, East Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Thessaly] and those of the Ionian Islands and Cyclades, where Europe Direct Centers do not operate.
Targeting to the citizens of these regions, we are able to reach the Greek citizens that are mostly influenced by the economic crisis as well as those who have limited opportunities to actively be involved and participate in initiatives related with the EU policy and cooperation.
Planned actions per region:
- One-day conference on “EU climate and energy policy: European challenges – local prospects” : It will address to all involved local actors (local authorities, stake holders and civil society) with the aim to engage them in an open dialogue on the EU decision making and cooperation, highlighting the fact that climate and energy challenges at EU level may create important local prospects.
- Presentation and discussion at local schools
- Environmental volunteer activities in cooperation with the local WWF offices (e.g. Cyclades, Zakynthos)
- Questionnaire: The participants of all activities will be asked to fill in a questionnaire, aiming to capture their opinions, perceptions and beliefs about the local environmental challenges and best-practices, the impact of EU policy in local society as well as their proposal for moving the EU cooperation forward in this field.
The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) is a private, independent, nonprofit-making research and training institute, established in Athens, Greece, in 1988. Its mission is to conduct research and provide policy makers, academics and the public at large with authoritative information and substantiated policy recommendations, so as to contribute to the development of evidence-based responses to major European and foreign policy challenges.
ELIAMEP’s expertise spans over a wide range of fields: the European integration process; migration and multiculturalism; democracy, human rights and civic participation; good governance and the rule of law; security, international relations and conflict resolution (with a special focus on the Balkans, the Middle East and the wider Mediterranean); the political and socio-economic implications of environmental issues, such as climate change or the depletion of conventional energy resources; etc.
Next to research projects, the Foundation also undertakes various kinds of information and awareness-raising activities to promote the public debate, such as the production of publications, the provision of information to the media, the organization of conferences, training seminars and round-table discussions, etc.
The Foundation’s work is funded primarily through grants awarded to it in support of specific projects; donations; and fees for the provision of research services. It is governed by a 13- member Board of Directors, which consists of distinguished individuals from various professional backgrounds. It is staffed by a large number of highly-qualified research fellows, associates and interns usually affiliated to in on the basis of specific projects, as well as a smaller team of experienced administrators (Director General and Deputy Director, Website Editor, Events Officer, Development Officer, 2 Financial Officers and 2 Administrative Officers) who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Foundation.