Berggruen Fellow Carsten Berg evaluates the achievements, shortcomings, and implications of the European Citizens’ Panels at the Conference on the Future of Europe, and explores the next steps for deliberative democracy in the EU and beyond.
Randomly selected citizens from across the European Union were the key players in the Conference on the Future of Europe that concluded in May 2022. By gathering 800 citizens from all member nations to make recommendations about the EU’s constitutional future, these European Citizens’ Panels were an important achievement in deliberative democracy, a process by which groups of stakeholders chosen from a population at random gather for mediated deliberation and decision making about policy and governance.
Berggruen Fellow Carsten Berg has been a leader of the movement for deliberative democracy for decades, co-designing the world’s first permanent randomly selected citizens’ assembly in East Belgium and directing the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Campaign. In this report he discusses his observations from the European Citizens’ Panels, the lessons to be learned, and the outlook for deliberative democracy in Europe in a time of deepening geopolitical uncertainty.