Following “the citizens’ panels” set up by the Parliament of Wallonia, the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (“the WEF”) has, in turn, launched a participatory initiative in this respect. The assembly is seeking, for this purpose, a total of 94 French-speaking citizens – echoing the number of its deputies – to make up a “Citizen Parliament”.
This panel will be invited to take part in a citizen participation project, around the theme of Europe and its development.
There are two working meetings anticipated. The first will take place on Saturday July 1st, to debate European issues with experts.
The second, scheduled for Saturday September 23rd, will allow the citizen assembly to work out its resolution for the European Union.
This project falls within the context of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. This comes at a point when the European Commission has presented a White Paper on the future of Europe, to provoke wider public debate upon the issue.
The initiative also pursues a lifelong learning objective. The President of the WEF, Philippe Courard (PS), says, “Participants will be put in the shoes of deputies. They will have to exchange ideas and debate together, so as to reach a joint text, upon which they will be asked to vote, just as genuine deputies do.”
He goes on, “This will allow them to understand more about parliamentary work and to better understand the democratic process.”
Interested citizens have until June 9th to apply. The 94 participants will be randomly selected to make up the “Citizen Parliament”.
The text which the citizens produce will be sent to deputies of the WEF and will be presented during both a plenary session and a committee debate. This will thus emulate parliamentary procedure.
Mr Courard promises, “The opinions of the citizens concerned will be heard by the actual deputies.”