A Citizens’ Panel Approach to Participatory Planning and Rural
The European Citizens’ Panel initiative was launched in Brussels in the premises of the Committee of the Regions on 10th May 2006. The panel was charged with bringing together citizens from 10 European regions constituting a cross-section of society to deliberate on issues important to the rural world by drawing on expert evidence, and to submit their findings to European and regional authorities as an additional decision-making tool. There were two phases to the project: initial region specific dialogues, one of which involved citizens from the borderlands of Ireland, and one follow-on European scale plenary dialogue. The project was grounded in the belief that citizen participation can enrich governance at multiple levels and can contribute to the task of democratic renewal.