New forms of populism, fuelled by the long-lasting economic crisis, reveal that today’s societal changes in Europe demand stronger forms of participation that representative democracy on its own does no longer fully meet. A democratic system that involves citizens, civil society, local authorities and different stakeholders in a collective and thoughtful manner in the decision making process at the community and European level is the correct and appropriate response to the complex context of today’s European society.
ALDA promotes participatory citizenship at the local and European level as an instrument to create the necessary conditions for political and social development of the community and to bring better results in terms of equality, welfare, security and sustainability. Engaging citizens in all aspects of the life of their community and making their voices heard through peaceful and legal forms of participation is also an antidote to populism and anti-democratic movements.
Participation at the local level is a key step to promote forms of engagement in higher levels, such as the national and European one. Reviving the European integration project via a bottom up approach bringing EU institutions closer to its citizens is key to develop a sense of shared ownership of the process. Bringing together representatives of the territories (local authorities, civil society, citizens, academia, etc.) to exchange on common needs and solutions is at basis of a stronger Europe built from below.
Objective of the action:
Within the framework of supporting the European project through a bottom up approach, ALDA Europe contributes to the following objectives, strongly in line with the Europe for Citizens programme:
- to promote citizens' understanding of the Union, its history and diversity
- to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level
- to raise awareness of remembrance, common history and values and the Union's aim that is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples
- to encourage democratic and civic participation of citizens at Union level, by developing citizens' understanding of the Union policy making-process and promoting opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement and volunteering
- to foster citizens’ participation in the construction of an ever closer Europe, by bringing together local communities to debate on the future of Europe
- to strengthen the sense of ownership of the European Union, by promoting local and transnational actions where communities’ problems are tackled in a European dimension
- to contribute to intercultural dialogue and enhance mutual understanding among European communities
Policy areas we work on:
ALDA is active at European level to bring in the expertise of the network and its members in several policy areas:
- Active Citizenship
- Empowering citizens to participate in the public life of their communities;
- Removing the barriers to participation, especially with regard to people who are less involved in social life (youth, elderly, women, minorities);
- Mobilising citizens to respond locally to global issues.
- Culture and Sport
- Promoting art and culture as forms of participation and active citizenship;
- Stimulating creativity and innovation;
- Promoting sport as a tool for social cohesion, tolerance, integration and inclusion.
- Promoting non formal education approaches to lifelong learning;
- Tackling early school leaving;
- Encouraging youngsters and adults’ mobility and exchange of experience;
- Promoting integration and tolerance.
- Employment, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
- Stimulating the spirit of innovation, the creativity, the mobility and the business-entrepreneurial attitude of unemployed people;
- Equipping unemployed people with information, resources, advice and networks to promote entrepreneurship and access to the job market;
- Promoting fair and inclusive economic activities that reduce inequalities such as social and solidarity economy.
- Good local governance
- Promoting the exchange of good practices related to local governance;
- Promoting the multi-stakeholder approach as evidence-base successful process for community development;
- Creating and strengthening town networks in order to develop cooperation between municipalities;
- Developing local authorities’ and citizens’ capacities.
- Health and Environment
- Promoting the adoption and use of ecological and sustainable products and solutions;
- Promoting circular economy models;
- Supporting activities to protect the nature capital and local biodiversity;
- Raising local authorities and citizens’ awareness on the environmental impact of their actions.
- Promoting tolerance, integration and dialogue between migrants and host communities;
- Providing migrants with opportunities, tools and useful competences to help them integrate in a new social and economic context;
- Promoting migrants’ participation in public life.
- Equal opportunities, minorities and vulnerable groups
- Promoting social cohesion, equality and equal opportunities;
- Tackling economic and social barriers to civic participation;
- Fostering active participation in community life of the most disadvantaged groups and individuals (women, young, elderly, foreigners, minorities, etc.).
- Social issues
- Tackling inequality, poverty and social exclusion;
- Building the capacities of excluded sectors of the community to make their voice heard and fully participate in the democratic life;
- Tackling illegality and corruption in Europe.
- Providing adequate knowledge, competences and skills to young people to tackle youth unemployment;
- Empowering youth to respond locally to global issues;
- Stimulating youth participation and social engagement through the promotion of activism and volunteering.
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