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In the past years, there have been great steps forward in developing Europe's democracy, with advances such as the improvement of the European Citizens' Initaitive and the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe. After years of crises and a long need for greater citizens' outreach by the EU, Democracy International strongly welcomes all efforts and opportunities to increase democratic participation. 

All these democratic participation opportunites have one major need in common: They require political follow-up that falls in line with citizens' wishes for Europe. This means, in addition to the welcome new opportunities for citizens' particiaption, a fundamental democratic reform of the EU is needed so that citizens have a greater say in European affairs.

This process of including and reaching out to citizens has been boosted by the Conference on the Future of Europe. We've campaigned for democratic processes such as randomly-selected citizens' assemblies with our previous campaign such as Now the Citizns and for EU democratic reform with our Democratic Europe Now campaign. But, ultimately, Europe needs a democratic overhaul and a bottom-up democratic reform process. Fundamental and necessary democratic reform in the EU, such as granting the European Parliament the right of initiative, transforming the European Citizens' Initiative as a real citizens' initiative right, or the introduction of EU-wide referenda require treaty change. That is why, in addition to all the highly welcome new and improved EU participation opportunities, a Constitutional Convention according to Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty is even more critical for the future of Europe - because only with fundamental and lasting democratic reform of the EU can Europe become a Europe of the citizens. 

Credits Image: Photographer Marco Verch, (CC BY 2.0), Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/160866001@N07/48328196741

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