Laboratory | EU Democracy in Action

Dipartimento SPGI

Dal 19.05.2023 al 09.06.2023

Scientific coordinator: Laura Polverari, University of Padua.

Laboratory EU Democracy in Action with Dr. Justus Schönlau (European Committee of the Regions).

The laboratory consists in a series of three four hour sessions, comprising participatory workshops which will give participants an understanding and direct experience of three different key elements of the EU’s democratic process, namely:

  1. Democratic participation by the directly elected European Parliament;
  2. General citizens’ participation through the EU consultation processes;
  3. The European Citizens’ Initiative, and the recently added European Citizens’ Panels, as experimented during the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFE).

The laboratories aim to give a practical as well as a conceptual understanding and enable critical assessment of the different elements of EU democracy.

The laboratory has been designed for students enrolled in the MA in European and Global Studies (including Erasmus students) but is open also to other students enrolled in BA and MA programmes who might be intersted in the themes.

All three sessions are entirely free. Participants should register to attend via the following Moodle page:



Friday 19.05.2023 | 9:30-13:30 | Room B, Dipartimento SPGI
Representative Democracy

  • General introduction and presentation
  • General framework of EU democracy (representative and participatory)
  • EP elections/ electoral law/ role of political parties
  • Quick recap on role of EP in co-decision procedure
  • Practical exercise: working with a recent piece of EU legislation (C02 emissions for passenger cars) to explore how it has been discussed/ shaped in the EP discussion
  • Factors/interests/processes in the EP

Friday 26.05.2023 | 09.30 -13.30 | Room B, Dipartimento SPGI
Direct Democracy

  • Discussion of democratic deficit
  • Better regulation and proximity to citizens
  • Open consultation processes (“have-your-say”)
  • Debate on direct democracy (Convention 2002/03)
  • European Citizens Initiative - legislation and implementation so far
  • Practical exercise: developing an ECI campaign: - selection of topic - framing it for the EU context - building alliances - communication

Friday 09.06.2023 | 09.30-12.30 | Room P, Dipartimento SPGI
Participatory Democracy

  • The Conference on the Future of Europe 2021-22
  • Participatory experiences across Europe
  • CoFE lessons and follow-up
  • The first three ECPs (Foodwaste, Meta-Verse, Educational Mobility)
  • Practical exercise: how to organise a citizens’ panel - framing EU participatory democracy
  • Concluding discussion: The Future of EU Democracy