CitizenHack Europe in the European Parliament?

Today Anthony, Nadia and I had a meeting with my friend Fabrizia Panzetti at Europarl to discuss a possible involvement of the Parliament in CitizenHack Europe. Anthony and Kat are already on track to make one event happen in London. What follows is a one-pager to share with Fabrizia’s boss, in order for Europarl to decide whether we go ahead with their involvement or not. If they decide to move forward, we’ll meet in the week 22-25 April (also involving Michal and hopefully Felipe. Do you think it is clear enough? Want to make changes?


A weekend that brings together hackers and civic activists from across the continent to create tools for a better European democracy.


The 2014 European Parliament elections will be significant for several reasons. They will be the first where the Europarties present candidates for Commission President, giving each campaign a clear leader. They will be the first since the full impact of the eurozone crisis, and pan-European issues around austerity, growth, and jobs will be to the forefront.

However, the European political space is immature and debate still mostly happens at national level. Building a European political space, and by extension a European demos is essential if the institutions of the Euro currency and the Union are to be truly democratic and accountable.

Europe’s size and scope, and the fact that its institutions are still forming, mean is has the potential - perhaps more than established national institutions - to attempt new forms of networked governance and politics.

What we want to do

  • Stage a hackday to create tools for building an European political space. The key concept is the hidden interdependencies between European political spheres: what happens in Greece affects the life of people in Poland, and so on. The goal is to increase the public's awareness of such interdependencies, and the degree of control over them.
  • In advance, set participants a broad challenge around the need to create a citizen-led European politics in place of 27 national policies on Europe, and collaboratively identify projects and areas for work.
  • Gather up to 150 hackers and civic activists, with every European country represented, for three days of intensive creation. Provide space for hacking in a broad sense, with tracks for legal, data, communications hacking in the interest of inclusivity (more on this).
  • Produce a set of first-draft tools for building a European political space, and introduce them to the institutions and politicians. 
  • Use and grow the network that we create as the seed for a broader European community of civic and technology activists.

Proposed dates and venue

November 2013, Brussels – ideally within the European Parliament building. The event latches on a CitizenHack Europe London already on track, supported by the European Commission Office in the UK. Other CHE events can be spawned based on local capacity, with London a possible venue for an initial challenge-setting discussion. Venues need to have high-speed wifi for multiple connexions, and be easy to access.

The team

  • The Democratic Society. Democratic reform and civic activism organization undertaking work with UK national and local government on democratic reform and openness. Organisers of CityCamp Brighton and the CityCamp Brighton network, a successful unconference and hackday weekend that has run in Brighton with more than 200 participants for the past three years.
  • Edgeryders. Social enterprise, spun off from a Council of Europe-European Commission project, with a strong community spanning the whole continent. Committed to empowering individuals "from the edge" to take direct action towards systemic change for good. Organizers of the Living On The Edge conferences.
  • [add others as they come in?]

Process check

Just to be clear, we are editing the original post, not commenting here? (I think editing original is preferable for speed as long as we can all agree near enough…)


Good point

  • Edit the document if you see something that can be improved and you don't feel like you need a discussion around it.
  • Comment if you want to draw our attention on some specific point or question

Next steps

Hi there

Any news from Anna? If we’re going to be meeting in the next few weeks I need to get some travel sorted.


Happening, apparently

Next week as planned. Checked today, no date yet. I reminded our friends at Europarl we need to plan ahead…

OK, thanks

Will wait to hear, thank you.


What about the writeup?

Anthony, have you got a writeup post-second meeting yet?