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Everything started to become a concrete reality in 2011 when the Falun City Parliament decided to launch the “Democracy City” process. At that time, all the political parties in the “Fullmäktige” – the Local Parliament – Falun has begun the work of establishing a modern “infrastructure for citizen participation”. The purpose was to encourage, facilitate and support its citizens in becoming truly active members of a town in which “every vote counts” on election day and “every voice is heard” at all times.
A Road Map to Democracy for Europe
On the way to becoming a “European Democracy City”, the elected all-party “Falun Democracy Commission” then outlined an initial roadmap featuring five main areas:
- Democracy Centres aiming at going beyond the existing established venues through a specific physical space hosted at the various public library venues of the City, offering places for communication, meeting, consultancy and formal decision making on election day;
- Democracy Navigators to guide interested citizens through the often technocratic and complex world of local politics and administration providing them non-profit professional consultancy service;
- Young Democracy involving a wide range of youth democracy programmes featuring Youth Democracy Ambassadors and local democracy teaching materials and curriculums for the municipal schools;
- Democracy Web featuring an online back-up platform for all possible expressions of active citizenship as well as a forum for dialogue between citizens and the institutions;
- Democracy Networks aiming at bringing together “Democracy Cities” all over the world.
In the summer of 2012, Falun City deliberated on a “Democracy Action Plan 2015”, which indicated clear milestones ahead. Within this framework, European Alternatives has been invited to participate in the “Democracy Week 2013” to be held in Falun between September 25 and 29 as part of the European Union’s Year of Citizens and the Council of Europe’s Local Democracy Week.
The Upcoming Falun Democracy Week
Day by day, various levels of democracy will be addressed: from the local, to the regional, national, transnational and global. This unique gathering of European and global citizens will discuss the many challenges and opportunities of both Sweden and European democracies and future prospects for the direct participation of citizens in the agenda-setting and decision-making processes. Our Campaign and Participation Manager, Anna Lodeserto, will take part with Gerald Häfner (Member of the European Parliament), Elisa Bruno (European Citizen Action Service), Daniel Schily (Democracy International) and Tamara Ehs (University of Salzburg) in the “Seminar on Transnational Democracy in Europe and how the new right of Citizens’ Initiative may influence the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament” which will be held on Saturday 28th during the “Europe Day on Transnational Democracy”.
A Special Passport to Active Citizenship
Still one of Sweden’s smaller cities, today Falun is developing a new approach to citizen participation with some important innovation lessons for every city that can be learned in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Stay tuned!
Find out more
- Watch the latest videos from Falun: “Democracy Passport – the Movie” and the “Welcome Address by Maroš Šef?ovi?”
- Like the Falun Democracy Week Page on Facebook to interact with the growing Falun Democracy Week Community and follow your @democracypass on Twitter
- Follow the streaming video coverage of many events broadcasted live on the Internet here
- View the whole programme online here