CIVIL SOCIETY DAYS 2023 | Elections 2024: debating the EU outside the capitals and the key role of organised civil society

2 March 2023 | 16:00–17:30 CET

At the European Economic and Social Committee

Rue Belliard 99/101, 1000 Bruxelles

The Union of European Federalists and the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee, are delighted to invite you to our joint event.

In recent years, we could notice a growing distrust of citizens towards politicians and democratic institutions as well as the rise of nationalism. 

Despite the increasing number of challenges, the European Union and its members made unprecedented moves towards efficient mechanisms to address them. 

With the upcoming EU elections in 2024, another page of European history will be written and it is time to underline the critical role civil society organisations in their diversity play. The Union of European Federalists (UEF), the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), and the members of the European Economic and Social Committee Liaison Group intend to debate how to reduce the gap between what we observe in the institutions and the perception of EU institutions in the different regions of the European Union.

We will discuss how to engage with citizens, speak about the EU, listen to people, and adapt to the quickly evolving environment to remain a relevant actor in European democratic life. 

How can we succeed in convincing citizens outside the political circles of the added value and necessity of European integration and European values? The information offered about the European Union is large and varied. How can it be better used? How can a more significant impact be achieved through better cooperation between all actors?

After a short welcome by Anna ECHTERHOFF, Secretary General of the UEF, and the introduction from Daniel GERER, Member of the Executive Bureau of the UEF and Head of Europe Direct Vienna, the following speakers will intervene:

  • Sandro GOZI MEP (Renew), President of the UEF and Chairman of the Spinelli Group,
  • Alexis LEBRAT, Secretary General of LEADER France,
  • Katrina LEITANE, Member of the EESC Civil Society Organisations’ Group, Representative of the National Youth Council of Latvia
  • Richard KÜHNEL, Director, Representation & Communication in Member States, Directorate-General for Communication, European Commission (tbc)
  • Oliver RÖPKE, President of the EESC Workers’ Group, Advisory member of the Federal Board of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), Head of EU Affairs at the ÖGB

The debate will be moderated by Dr. Nana WALZER, Journalist, University Lecturer, and Chairwoman of europe:united. Antonella VALMORBIDA, Secretary General of ALDA and Rapporteur of the workshop will offer concluding remarks.