The essence of the participatory democracy

A Workshop which took place in Godollo (Hungary) about "The Essence of Participatory Democracy" on Wednesday 21st of October in Seminar "Together in Europe" under the co-ordination of Italian association "Communitas Vesuviana".

All the participants agreed about the difficulty of participation in our countries, despite the fact that all of them subscribed the idea that one of the elements, the political element, of an active European citizenship is "The right to participate in exercise of political power".

After describing the form of participations now present in each country (vote, referendums and strikes) and given a pessimistic scenario about the real participation and the continuous and growing trend of individualism, the group tried to sort out possible new forms of participation.

Press and media must be the first type of participation to be informed and to push the decision makers to listen to the people.

Election should be taught in order to be possible voting in the same time candidates even from different parties or ideologies.

Participation should start from our own house, district, neighbourhood (even with little actions).

Participation must be not only speak but also act.

The decision makers in any kinds of body (public and even private) should be responsible for their actions and their acts and facts.

Participation is active citizenship.

New party can help participation of people.

Education must be the starting point for participation, we must teach people to ask for the organization of small groups (associations) capable of representing even small needs. All the above forms appeared to the participants good and sometime possible and easy, but participation means each of us is obliged to ask for and receive answers, and if the answers are not right to organize or enter an organization capable of representing those needs, and finally assume that all decision makers can be responsible for their action, inaction and mistaken action.

Finally the Italian Delegation presented briefly one of the forms of participation they are working on: the budget.

Start from the municipal budget, and try to understand where the money goes and where it comes from. Then explain this simply to the people; this can be an introduction to a more relevant form of participation: the citizen can in future decide about a certain amount of municipal funds for specific needs, coming from them.

The workshop was very interesting and many contributes were given from all the delegations present in the seminar. The idea was to provoke a discussion about the lack of participation nowadays in our countries and to find remedies, of course this was not the place to come out with some good practices but we hope that everybody will go back to their own place with a new will to "Participate in the exercise of political power"

Workshop led by Italian organisation