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Home / Resources / News / Citizens consultation on the commons in Europe: findings for the Citizens Manifesto

Citizens consultation on the commons in Europe: findings for the Citizens Manifesto

Commons and the broader socialSaturday and Sunday 25th-26th May 2013, Samuel Brassai Street, no 5, Cluj-Napoca

Find out more information about the Citizens Manifesto and about the Cluj consultation!

You can download the findings of this citizens’ consultation here and vote for the proposals for the Citizens Manifesto here.

The consultation on the commons and the broader social, organised by European Alternatives in partnership with GAS(Group for Social Action), transit.roand Critic Atac, brought together representatives of social mobilisations and civil society organisations to debate issues related to the commons in Romania and the EU. Participating organisations and speakers included, GLOC/The Working Group of Civil Society Organizations, Eniko Vincze, Cristina Rat, GAP(Gazeta de Arta Politica)/ Political Art Gazette: Marius Tudor, Biblioteca Alternativ?/ Alternative Library: Veda Popovici  , Biocoop/Ecoruralis(Ramona Dominicioiu), Alburnus Maior (Eugen David), Editura Tact (Andrei State), the Bezna Collective, Claca (Mihai Lukacs)

Table discussions: issues to be debated and introduction to the key proposals

The proposals numbered below were elaborated through discussions using the World Café methodology. They reflect the opinions held by the majority of those who participated in the public consultation, even though their opinions and ideas often displayed a variety of positions. Some of the proposals were developed on several discussion tables, but for the sake of clarity, similar concerns have been merged together.  If you wish to react to or comment on a proposal – or even suggest new ideas – please use the “comments” box at the bottom of the page.

Discussions focussed on various examples of commons, such as land, water or knowledge, as well as on the importance of an educational system directed towards the commons. How communities can organise and cooperate around common goods and how commons can become a driving force for the Romanian social movements to federate was then debated in the second part of the meeting.

Overcoming the fragmentation of the social movement

Social movements within Romania are divided and fail to defend together a common cause. There is a disconnection of the Romanian social from the broader European movement; Rosia Montana emerged as a gravitation centre for Romanians; it unified them also with other European movements that are gathered along the cornerstone of commons. Commons therefore emerge as a touching point for the social movements within Romania and across the country borders.

Commons as a counter-narrative

In Romania commons are emerging so as to contract neoliberalism and capitalism.The European Charter of Commons may bring the Romanian social movement further. Yet, Romanian-origin commons shall be added.What are the commons: knowledge, health(care), culture, soil, energy, water, solar radiation, parks, life…Perhaps come up with a common that will be accepted by TNCs so that they oppose less the whole commons concept?

How to advocate Commons better in Romania?

– Agree on a set of Commons;
– Explore and apply best practices of Commons advocacy from other countries.
– Cooperate with non-Romanian movements: set up a platform through European Alternatives?

– Legislative changes are difficult at the central state level. Therefore, gain the support of mayors and city/municipal counters. Next step: mapping and contacting interested local actors in Romania

Three proposals for the Citizens Manifesto on the European Commons

1. Cities and regions should be involved in the review of draft EU legislation on a wide range of aspects related to the commons. They can also spread the message to their members and get more cities and regions to support the commons. Like the Committee of Regions, URBACT, the Assembly of European Regions, City Mayors, REVES network of cities, that have consultative roles, cities and regions will contribute to the protection of commons through different pieces of EU laws, particularly regulations and directives.

2. Initiate a European Citizens Initiative on the commons: this mechanism of direct participatory democracy enables the advocacy of legislation before the European Union institutions: the aim is for a directive or regulation on the commons to be eventually passed and enforced in the 28 Member States. Once approved by the European Commission as an admissible proposal (commons are in conformity with EU’s underlying principles and values), signatures will be collected around Europe and following European citizens mobilisation the European Parliament and the Council will vote on the legislation.

3. Citizens should file a complaint about matters related to the commons (in legal terms referred to as “services of general economic interest”) within the framework of EU legislation. Once the matter is referred to the EU Court by a national court or tribunal (initiating litigation through different member states’ courts will be a useful advocacy strategy), the court, in accordance with article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU will issue a binding judgement that interprets EU law and therefore the protection of the commons will be reiterated without, strictly speaking, enacting new piece of EU legislation.

Find all the proposals on commons for the Citizens Manifesto on this page!