The general aim of this project is to create a common space for citizens form different European countries to empower their civic participation, to discuss and work together by confronting views and experience on currently engaging and crucial issues for Europeans. The project focus on the challenges of democracy, especially tackling upon the future of democratic debate in times of digital revolution and deepening polarization, confronting disinformation, reviewing the real and possible impact of EU polices and bringing closer the values defining European community. Mutual understanding of the fears and expectations of people from different regions of Europe will allow to find a common ground and define values which are still worth to stand for. The project aims at strengthening a cross-border exchange about European challenges by raising understanding for each-others opinions, fostering a culture of debate and constructive criticism, and developing digital media skills.

The Project is being implemented within the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme in the framework of transnational cooperation:
POLAND: The Polish Robert Schuman Foundation
SPAIN: Mancomunitat Intermunicipal de l’Horta Sud
GERMANY: Democracy International e.V.
CROATIA: Europe House Slavonski Brod
BULGARIA: The European Information Centre (Valiko Tarnovo)

The first event took place in the region of Valencia, Spain (17-20.01.2023). We talked about participation, civil society, grassroots activities and cooperation between local authorities and residents. We got closer look at existing tools of transparency and open government.

The Conference “Why HAVE YOUR SAY project?: Commitment and citizen participation in the democratic life of the European Union” was hosted by the Mancomunitat Intermunicipal de l’Horta Sud with representatives of communities of the Valencia region (Torrent, Quart de Poblet, Valencia etc.), city councilors, representatives of local authorities, private sector and civil society. The meeting was also an opportunity to exchange experience and practices on the civic participation  during the pandemic emergency in different countries (Spain, Poland, Germany, Croatia and Bulgaria).

Check in the MEDIA tab the Testimonies shared by the participants from Quart de Poblet on transnational exchange, mutual learning, on sharing values and importance of citizens’ participation in decision-making processes.

Summary of the event_Event Description Sheet

The collection of examples of tools, good practices and recommendations on transparency, open government and citizens’ participation.

  1. The objectives and principles of open government by the way of example of the municipality of Quart de Poblet (Valencia region, Spain)
  2. Portal Datos Únicos (Unique Data) is a tool that helps one to consult in an easy, interactive and attractive manner all the municipal budget information: expenditure and revenue, economic breakdowns, by programme and by organisation, budget execution programme and by organisation, budget execution, as well as its annual evolution.
    Presentations (in Spanish):
    Digital Value
    Portal Datos Unicos
    Portal de la Transparencia 
  3. Participatory budgetIn terms of transparency, all municipalities should have a regulation requiring compliance with minimum transparency indicators or items. In relation to improving governance one of the examples of involving citizens in the decision-making processes is a participatory budget. As a result, they can get a sense of ownership and a better stake in the firm to openly share their ideas and participation in budget creation. Thanks to the civic budget, residents decide what part of city’s budget should be spent on. Every year it is the citizens who come up with and propose projects and then vote on those that will be implemented. In this way, they jointly decide what will be built in their neighbourhood, in several districts or in the whole of city.
    • We would like to share the example of the participatory budgets of Alaquàs (a Spanish town and municipality located in the central part of the comarca of Huerta Oeste, in the province of Valencia, Comunidad Valenciana. It belongs to the metropolitan area of Valencia. It had 29 711 inhabitants in 2020 (municipal census). More about tools of transparency and participation implemented by the city council of Alaquas, amongs others the ways of facilitating access to information on acts of administrative management with an economic or budgetary impact, as well as statistical information from the Alaquàs City Council:
    • The information should be accessible, easy to find, the rules and process should be presented in a clear and comprehensible manner.
      As a example we recommend to visit the portal of the City of Warsaw (Poland) dedicated to participatory budget:

4. Participation activities/policies during the pandemic emergency

  • Good Practice from Spain – Picassent (València): HACKATHON PICASSENT 2020
  • As an example of the facilitating participation in the times of Covid crisis is The Ser Horta Sud 2030 “Serà 2030” project – a collaboration between the Horta Sud Foundation, the association and business fabric of the region, the Horta Sud Community and the Valencia Provincial Council, with the aim of raising awareness, debating and proposing measures and actions in line with the Urban Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals to structure and improve the region and the quality of life of its people. During the spring of 2020, fully immersed in the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, the Horta Sud Foundation promoted the #PacteHortaSud, a pact for the reconstruction of the region that proposed actions for the coordination and improvement of the territory through the joint action of the various actors of Horta Sud.The more than 250 people who have already signed up individually and the more than 75 organisations that have subscribed to it (including the Mancomunitat and 9 municipalities in the region) demonstrate the need to take action, to turn words into deeds.
  • Citizens´ assemblies against COVID-19 – 2022 Global Forum on modern Democracy

The transnational meeting took place in Warsaw on 22-25.03.2023. The event combined workshops and seminar with experts, and group discussions on jointly defined problems and challenges based on the findings of local groups’ research on the background of Eurosceptic, anti-democratic attitudes and narratives in their local communities.

Participants presented the overviews and short analyses based on their own researches done in their local communities in Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and Spain. The polish background was presented during the workshop on countering disinformation while some particular examples of manipulation in media aiming at undermining either EU policies or democratic values were presented. Regarding the war in Ukraine the disinformation in this field was mostly highlighted. We were also developing topics of civic participation and EU values at local/national level. 

 One of the point in our agenda was the moderated Seminar and discussion with experts: Jan Truszczyński (Chief negotiator on Poland’s accession to the EU, Team Europe) and Łukasz Lipiński: Editor-in-chief of ( the Polish opinion-forming social and political weekly). The discussions focused on the effectiveness and future of the EU institutional framework, possible changes to the Treaties and the possible next enlargement (including Ukraine, Balkans). 

The summary of the event in Poland

Short presentations on economical, societal and political backgrounds of euroskeptical and antidemocratic narratives in: GERMANY, SPAIN, CROATIA , BULGARIA.

The collection of examples of tools, good practices and recommendations on instruments of democratic society:

1. Civic council on energy costs (Poland, 2022) – organised by the STOCZNIA (Shipyard) Foundation in Poland

Europe’s only bottom-up, nationwide citizens’ panel. A process that involved a representative group of almost 100 Polish men and women. The nationwide process to think collectively about the problem of fuel poverty in our country and to participatively develop the best and socially legitimate proposals to solve it.

Find out how it went and what verdict the citizens gave to solve the problem of fuel poverty in Poland:

Publications in English

2. How cohesion policy funds reinforce EU values in Poland – the campaign in social and traditional media combined with series of  workshops in different regions of Poland organised by the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation

The impact of cohesion policy in promoting EU values is more difficult to see and assess than, for example, economic growth. Equality and freedom cannot be summed up in kilometres of motorway built, and democracy cannot be measured by the number of projects carried out. However, it can be shown that every value listed in Article 2 of the TEU lies at the heart of projects carried out with funds pursuing cohesion policy objectives.

Publication in Polish

3.The “European Public Sphere” project – managed by the Democracy International

A truly democratic Europe can only be built through open and inclusive debate with its citizens. The European Public Sphere, a joint project by Democracy International and IG Eurovision, creates a space for these debates. With its geodesic dome, the initiative travels through Europe and invites people to share their thoughts and ideas! The goal is to gather the building blocks for the social architecture of Europe, through discussions open-to-all.

European Public Sphere | It’s about the future of Europe!

4.The Direct Democracy Navigator – an online tool that currently features 1227 instruments of direct democracy, available in more than 100 countries in the world.

The website is a product of research carried out by Dr. Klaus Hofmann, Democracy International, the German University of Wuppertal and committed democracy experts from Europe:

5.European Citizens’ Initiative is a unique way for you to help shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws. Once an initiative has reached 1 million signatures, the Commission will decide on what action to take. How it works -> check here

The event was held in June in Slavonski Brod, in Croatia.

Participants from Poland, Germany and Bulgaria discussed with representatives of the Europe House Slavonski Brod and teachers and students of the Matija Antun Reljković VT High School  on projects aiming at increasing the turnout of citizens at the #EP2024 elections and on stronger and more exclusive participation of citizens in democratic processes at all levels. Tomislav Levak, professor and communicator of the Academy of Arts in Osijek from J. J. Strossmayer University, held an interactive lecture and workshop on “Responsible Communication In New Media Universe”.  The Croatian MEP Romana Jerković discussed communication between EU institutions and citizens, especially in the preparatory period for the EP, with participation of the juniors and seniors of the School of Ambassadors of the European Parliament.

During the visit in  Slavonskobrodska TV the group discussed abiut the responsibility of regional TV stations in communication with representatives of local authorities, the public and business sectors. Ivan Čalić, editor-in-chief of SBTV, spoke about the program of the regional TV station, sources of information, the representation of EU topics in the program, financing, the method of selecting news (what is given priority), the reputation and popularity of SBTV in Brod Posavina County and neighbouring counties which this media covers. The visit was followed by the workshop: WALKING IN ANOTHER’S SHOES based on the modified fairy tale: The Maligned Wolf.

The second working day started with a meeting with the members and users of the Vrapčići  association focused on the improvement of mental health and quality of life of patients with psychotic disorders to discuss its communication with the media and how such topics should be presented to  sensitize the wider public.

In the City Library of Slavonski Brod, the International conference was held, with the support of the European Commission in Croatia and the EP Office in Zagreb to tackle upon among others such issues as: Soon there will be elections at the European, national and local level… How to reduce the possibility of indoctrination and manipulation of citizens, especially young people, who are not sufficiently media literate? Are there obligations to communicate responsibly in the digital age and sanctions if this is not the case? Why do the media give so much more space to Eurosceptic parties? What are the causes of populism/nationalism in Europe? Recession, unemployment?

The meeting concluded with the visit in the Radio Brod, the first established radio station in Slavonia. The way of working and communication of the local radio station was discussed with citizens and representatives of all three sectors; from a radio perspective – what is responsible communication, objective information; the importance and popularity of local radio and (in)dependence on media space participants – media owners, local authorities, advertisers.

The summary – The event description sheet

Countering disinformation and building resilience towards European elections 2024:


  • EUvsDisinfo is the flagship project of the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force. It was established in 2015 to better forecast, address, and respond to the Russian Federation’s ongoing disinformation campaigns affecting the European Union, its Member States, and countries in the shared neighbourhood.
  • is a community of people who believe in democracy and who want to give it real meaning as the next European elections approach. It connects people from across Europe to meet, share knowledge and learn new skills, all while encouraging others to vote in 2024. Sign up here to get involved !
  • The EYE (European Youth Event) brings together at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and online thousands of young people from all over the European Union and the world, to share and shape their ideas on Europe’s future. It is a unique opportunity for 16 to 30 year olds to interact, inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers, right in the heart of European democracy.

Responsible communication in new media universe – presentation by Tomislav Levak, Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, Croatia

  • Goviralgame – Tool for debunking covid-19 misinformation
  • Responsible communication and media freedom in  Bulgaria – presentation
  • Good practices from Germany – presentation 
  • Medienberatung NRW operates on the basis of a contractually regulated cooperation between the Ministry of Education of the State of NRW (MSB) and the Regional Associations of the Rhineland (LVR) and Westphalia-Lippe (LWL). This cooperation makes it possible to promote networking and cooperation between those involved in the digitisation process in the education sector, including the district governments, the municipal school authorities, the regional education networks and the municipal media centres.
  • Keyboard Warriors is a factchecking initiative committed to fighting against manipulated content in Poland. It takes place both on social media and in reality. In addition to fact-checking activities, the team of experts also provide training and workshops – from basic and open to advanced and specialised for journalists and researchers.
  • Responsible communication in digital era – Poland

On the weekend from 7 -8 July ColognePride hosted the Christopher-Street-Day street festival. Right in Cologne city centre human rights and diversity were celebrated! The Democracy International featured the Europe Dome at the street festival creating a safe space for workshops, meeting, spontaneous discussions, art exhibitions, and an overall positive atmosphere. The participants of “Have your say in EU” project had a chance to be a part of these events, sharing common space with citizens from different European countries to empower civic participation, to discuss and work together and focus on the challenges of democracy. they also had a chance to meet and disucuss with the activist from Democracy Connectors team from Tunisia and the ASA Ukrainian Vibes team about the intercultral experience, shared values, and challenges for Europe in the context of its neighboring countries.

The summary – the event description sheet 

The collection of examples of tools, good practices and recommendations on citizens participation: 

The Losland project with the implementation and monitoring of citizen participation in 10 municipalities co-managed by Mehr Demokratie. LOSLAND supports ten municipalities throughout Germany in shaping a future that is suitable for grandchildren. To this end, LOSLAND is working with the municipalities to develop tailor-made participation processes, inspired by Citizens’ Assemblies, Lottery procedure and other forms of citizen participation.

The processes in the LOSLAND municipalities enable citizens to contribute their perspectives, their ideas and their knowledge about their place. The experiences and insights gained in the LOSLAND municipalities form a political mosaic: a map of democratic self-efficacy. In this way, LOSLAND aims to inspire and encourage far beyond the participating municipalities.

Annual Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is the largest gathering devoted to direct democracy worldwide. It favours a multidisciplinary approach, welcoming participants from academic, political and civil society perspectives. It is attended by activists, organisations and academics from all over the world. The goal is to bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, so as to give activists and organisations the opportunity to share their insights and connect with others working on the same issues.

The network of European Clubs. European Clubs are non-formal voluntary organisations operating within schools. Each club might choose to define itself differently, depending on its mission, country, region and town of operation, type of school, teacher responsible for the club and even the current situation in Europe. Nevertheless, generally all the clubs follow the same idea and have one common goal – to spread and support European education, promote active citizenship and teach responsibility for one’s actions. By forming the club, students and teachers gain access to non-formal methods and areas of learning which include international communication about European issues (political, economic, cultural, etc.), working on European projects with people from many different countries, staying in touch and sharing opinions with other students, both on the local and international level.

More about the structure and how to set up and manage the European Cubs one may find  in the MANUAL (ENG).

The tool for increasing the participation of young people in the co-decision making process concerning local issues in the place where they live would be Youth Councils. Local youth councils can be a great method of civic participation for youth and can help in developing active citizens. By engaging in youth councils young people can learn about their rights and take part in local decision making process – influence their local communities and feel responsible for them. Local youth councils should be a bridge between local authorities and local youth – on one hand it should consult with young people ideas and actions of local authorities, on the other hand – collect the ideas from youth and pass to local authorities.

One of the example to share is The Youth Council of the Valencian Community (Spain) which is the platform that brings together all the youth organizations and represents the interests of Valencian youth. The CJCV is a public body created by law, but independent of the public administration. The council is a space to promote democratic participation of young people, where they can report their situation to society and the policy makers, raise awareness of youth initiatives and follow up on policies for the youth, in the same way to empower young people by developing their competences by non-formal learning. The CJCV is composed by 16 regional non-government youth organizations and 17 local youth councils. The Council is part of national networks such as the Youth Council of Spain (CJE) and other cooperation with the National Youth Council of Catalonia (CNJC).

To get more about the idea and structure of youth councils, about the good practices and tools of youth participation check the MANUAL (ENG).

The final event was held in Valiko Tarnovo in Bulgaria, 4-7 October 2023. Participants from five EU countries (Poland, Spain, Germany, Croatia and Bulgaria) had a chance to take part in diverse types of activities.

One of them was  a plenary session at the Municipal hall including a lecture and discussion “Empowering Citizens” by Dr Viktor Mihaylov from the University of Veliko Tarnovo on tools of empowering citizens with emphasise on the European Citizens’ initiative. The discussion was followed by the meeting with The Ombudsman of Bulgaria – Prof Diana Kovacheva. She presented the system of human rights protection in Bulgaria and the activities of the Ombudsman as a mediator between the citizens and the institutions.

The following sessions were focused on engaging young people in local initiatives, on the tools for citizens’ empowerment in local communities followed by the presentaion of  young people from Svishov youth territory ( Participants had a chance to meet and discuss with the representatives of  Industrial association UGIR, Craiova about anti-corruption local initiative that grow to national. The “democracy hunt” visit in the Constitution Hall, led by young students from the “EP ambassadors” program was dedicated to getting know the first democratic constitution of Bulgaria.

The participants visited some landmarks under UNESCO patronage and discussed how common history and culture united Europeans. Afterwards, the sum-up session took place – participants discussed and shared recommendations and ideas of the citizens, which were gathered and edited by the students of Valiko Tarnovo University, who participated in the project, wihtin the document “Recommendations on the role of citizens  for stronger Europe”.

Good practices from the region of Valiko Tarnovo (BG):

Citizens’  Catalogue
Interactive Map 



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Short interviews with participants of the event in Cologne, Germany on transtional exchange, on experience of participating in public debates and on civic activism

Short interviews with some participants of the event in Warsaw on transnational exchange, mutual learning, on challenges for EU and its citizens in the near future, especially in the terms of sustainable development.



Short interviews with the participants of the event in Croatia: Tomislav Levak,University Lecturer at Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek and Iva Bodrožić-Selak, Croatian Language Teacher at Matija Antun Reljković High school.


Short interviews with the participants of the first event in Valencia region: Dana Maini, Paula Gimeno and David Valdearcos from AYTO Quart de Poblet.

Social campaign and Exhibition Europe and the European 1950-2020 and flashmob 

A special exhibition, Europe and Europeans 1950-2020, commemorating the anniversary of Robert Schumann’s speech, has been organised by a local youth group in the centre of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria), panels from the European Archive in Florence were displayed, telling the historical significance of the speech and presenting significant moments in the history of the European Union.

Young people from the youth group and students from the Vocational School of Tourism carried out a flashmob spelling out EU. Passers-by were given flags, material about the exhibition and the development of the EU, its values and debate on the future of EU.

Social campaign “You Have a say in EU” 

On 21 July 2023 a social campaign “You have a say in the European Union” took place, with the participation of young people from Valiko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) the local group and from the partner organization GLOW. As part of the campaign, the young people talked to pedestrians in the town. They gathered their views on the future of the European Union and the areas and policies in which it should develop. In the conversations, the young people also gathered suggestions that citizens would like to see in future EU policy. The proposals are part of the Citizen’s Catalogue, an electronic document being prepared within the project Have your Say in EU, which will be presented as Citizens’ Recommendations.

Campaign “Mobile Europe closer to the citizens” 

During the project implementation, the youth group from Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) organized a social campaign “Mobile Europe closer to citizens”. From the EU Bookshop were ordered quantities of available maps, materials related to hot topics of European recent development and policies. The students named their trip to small and remote settlements of Veliko Tarnovo region – Mobile Europe. The young people visited Balvan, Balkanci, Pavel, Momin sbor, Kilifarevo, Novo Selo, Polski Trambesh, Radanovo during local festivals and celebrations. During the visits, the young people set up a stand, distributed the free materials available and talked to people about the problems they see for the development of the EU to be included to Citizens’ Recommendations.