|Background information||Text version|
Almost all Western-European countries have witnessed a decreasing electoral participation among their citizens, political parties are loosing members and the confidence in politicians is decreasing. In the field of direct democracy, the referendum institution and citizen's civil society involvement are experiencing problems. As regards to participatory democracy, citizen-government relations are vital development points.
Involvement in party work, elected offices and institutions need to be made more interesting to citizens. At the same time participatory opportunities and prerequisites for civic participation must be strengthened in the European Union member states.
The EPACE project seeks address the challenges related to a lessening of citizen participation and influence. Young people, newly arrived immigrants and for example those with a low level of education in particular need more opportunities for participation which can socialise them into civic activity and citizen participation.
Information on how to improve the facilities for democracy within the European Union member states is vital. Concrete measures are needed in order to gain knowledge on the range and effectiveness of various citizen participation projects.
Recent years have seen the launch and implementation of various development projects both conducted by authorities and civil society organisations. These include initiatives, information campaigns, pilot projects and various experiments.
The projects have generated a wide selection of tools for promoting and safeguarding democracy in fields such as information provision, communication and interaction. Still there is little verified knowledge of the effectiveness of such projects and of similar experiences in other EU member states.