From the case study (as of December 24, 2009):
The Citizens’ Forum is a new form of participation developed by the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Ludwig-Erhard Foundation and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation. It is a 6-8 week online deliberation embedded in two live events, one at the beginning of the process and the other one at the end. This article describes the second edition of the Citizens’ Forum Europe.
Between November 2008 and June 2009, 361 randomly selected German residents participated in this innovative process of online-deliberation. They formed a Citizens’ Forum with eight committees (each with circa 45 participants) whose task was to complete an agenda on the future of Europe. Within their discussions they defined the European Union’s future challenges and developed possible solutions taking into consideration how European citizens themselves can contribute to these developments.
At the beginning of the process in February 2009, all the participants met in Berlin. Together the eight committees framed the basis for the subsequent online deliberation by defining Europe’s main challenges on which they would like to work. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, attended the event as a guest.
During an eight-week online deliberation, the participants reviewed and checked their original ideas, examining the most persuasive points and compiling a citizens’ programme consisting of 16 resolutions. In April 2009 the participants met again, this time in the old German parliament building in Bonn, and discussed their demands with five European Parliament candidates.
The Citizens’ Forum was implemented by Zebralog and Binary Objects, who took care of the planning, setup and moderation of the online deliberation, and IKU, who was responsible for the live event in Berlin. The whole process has been evaluated by the European Institute for Public Participation (EIPP).