Political Capital launched a project under the Europe for Citizens Programme

2017-11-20

Political Capital together with Social Development Institute implemented a project for debating Euroscepticism in Hungary. The “CODES – Comprehending and Debating Euroscepticism” project is funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European union and is implemented by an international consortium.

Leading partner is the Comenius University in Bratislava, and the other participants are Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik – Germany, EuroPolicy – Slovakia, Sabiedriskas politikas centrs Providus – Latvia, Foundation Euractive politech – Belgium, Capital Foundation - Bulgaria, Nonprofi and World of NGOs – Austria.

The project envisages deepening the debate with citizens on their perception of EU membership initiated by Comenius University during the Slovak Presidency in 2016. The university initiative has confirmed the erosion of positive attitudes even in countries such as Slovakia, with traditionally high level of support for the EU. This is why the project will stimulate debate among EU citizens and provoke their thinking about alternatives and possible negative consequences of the future without the EU.

The main objective of the project is to raise awareness and recognize the benefits to the EU among citizens. Assumptions based on past research and public activities are that the EU often presents itself as a distant culprit for bad policies, while the benefits often being neglected.

The project will organize public debates with citizens in their local environment. The debates are aimed at revealing the sources of public Euroscepticism. Workshops with local opinion leaders will discuss and identify the instruments with the greatest potential to present the EU’s benefits to the development of regions and local communities.

The main expected outcome of the project is a communication strategy based on a bottom-up approach to present the European Union and the effects of being its member. The results and lessons learned from the project can be used actively in the preparation of the European Union’s communication strategy. The project conclusions will be presented to the EU institutions prior to the 2019 European Parliament election campaign.

Citizens will benefit from the project by gaining more comprehensible and accessible information on the benefits of EU membership and thus contributing to counteracting the spread of Euroscepticism across the EU.

Political Capital organised:

Five national debates with citizens

Debates took place in various towns across Hungary (Pilisjászfalu, Pécs, Miskolc, Hatvan, Balassagyarmat), from 22/09/2017 to 04/10/2017.

Short description of the debates:

  • Pilisjászfalu: We organized discussion with local students in Pilisjászfalu. Participants shared their view on the state of the European Union, focusing on the most important pressure points such as migration and economy. They expressed their feelings about advantages and disadvantages of Hungary’s EU membership.
  • Pécs: We organized discussion with local citizens in Pécs, dominated by women. Participants shared their view on the state of the European Union, focusing on the most important pressure points such as migration and economy. They expressed their feelings about advantages and disadvantages of Hungary’s EU membership.
  • Miskolc: We organized discussion with local citizens in Miskolc. Participants shared their view on the state of the European Union, focusing on the most important pressure points such as migration and economy. They expressed their feelings about advantages and disadvantages of Hungary’s EU membership.
  • Hatvan: We organized discussion with local citizens in Hatvan, with mainly construction workers and former entrepreneurs. Participants shared their view on the state of the European Union, focusing on the most important pressure points such as migration and economy. They expressed their feelings about advantages and disadvantages of Hungary’s EU membership.
  • Balassagyarmat: We organized discussion with convicted persons in Balassagyarmat. Participants shared their view on the state of the European Union, focusing on the most important pressure points such as migration and economy. They expressed their feelings about advantages and disadvantages of Hungary’s EU membership.

Debates involved 52 citizens from Hungary.

Two roundtable-style workshops

Debates took place in Budapest, from 09/11/2017 to 10/11/2017

Key findings from the workshops:

  • Access to EU-related state research funds are rather limited, therefore participants would support non-state structure of EU funds allocation.
  • There is a lack of cooperation between the NGO sector and local municipalities/ mayors. The support of such cooperation would be needed.
  • In order to increase positive image of the EU, new ways of dialogue is urgent (for example: comprehensive reform of the European Civil Initiative)

Debates involved 25 citizens from Hungary.

 

 

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The project was supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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