The Conference on the future of Europe as a new framework of participatory democracy at the European Union level

Research Paper by Ionuț Mircea Marcu



The Conference on the future of Europe, a pan-European citizen-oriented framework of debate, provided guidance on the future of the European Union and significantly increased the citizens’ participation in shaping the democratic future of the EU. However, the Conference had to adapt to the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of this research paper is twofold. First of all, it aims to assess how the digital and online communication instruments and platforms had an impact on the debates within the Conference on the future of Europe. In this sense, the first objective of this paper is to analyse the Conference on the future of Europe as a novel framework of participatory democracy in the European Union. This first part of this research paper will be built on the scientific literature related to the issue of democratic deficit at the EU level and will argue that the Conference on the future of Europe’s experience, especially in its significant utilization of online communication tools and platforms, can be described as an attempt to overcome this deficit, as well as the various Eurosceptic discourses, by including the European citizens more in EU debates. Second of all, this research paper will propose, by extrapolating from the first part’s conclusions, concrete policy recommendations on how to create a new participatory democratic framework at the EU level. These new frameworks could then increase citizens’ participation in the EU democratic system, not only during European elections, but within a new system that is permanent, online based, and flexible.


About the author

Ionuț-Mircea MARCU is a PhD Candidate at the University of Bucharest and École des hautes études en sciences sociales Paris.

#CoFE #participatorydemocracy #digitaldemocracy