30 European municipal workers delve into public citizen consultation practices towards active European participation
Xàtiva, a regional capital in the Valencian province in Spain hosted today the first workshop of the project “Active cities for the EU” that invited 30 municipal technicians.
This has been the first workshop developed in the involved partner countries under the name “On the track: summing up the outputs of Active cities for EU”: The project will include 5 workshops that have as objective to train municipalities’ technicians in diverse public consultations practices in order to understand how this participatory process works, transfer knowledge and increase their capacity on their own local administrations to carry out public consultations and increase the opportunities of citizens for being politically active.
The workshop had the welcoming words from Héctor Cuenca, the councilor of Citizen Participation from the municipality of Xàtiva. He focused on the opportunity that this kind of event provides to exchange, learn and share, also willing participants to enjoy their stay in Xâtiva.
Afterwards, Tessy Melidi, representing the coordinator partner organization, introduced the Handbook that is being developed in the framework of the project. This document is registering case studies on public consultation and will include good practices and examples from each partner country. Tessy focused on how public consultations are indeed good opportunities for citizens to share their opinions that can affect public decisions.
Later, Soledat Colomer, in representation of the youth department of the Municipality of Xàtiva, shared one concrete good practice based on the development of the “Plan Milienial”. She described how this consultation process included a deep and interesting diagnosis developed with diverse target groups of youth coming from different working sectors. The inputs of this diagnosis allowed them to develop an action plan focused on the opportunities and potentialities in employability of youth in the city of Xàtiva.
The rest of the workshop was based on diverse participatory dynamics where participants could collaborate, contribute and generate ideas. Firstly, participants had to identify how viable it was to apply this specific experience that Xàtiva presented, to the other contexts of intervention.
The Greek team pointed out that the example provided was like practices that used to happen in their country. On the other hand, Hungary considered this plan could perfectly take place in their country, and they already took some ideas from this practice.
Nevertheless, Rumania’s participants considered that the bureaucracy and processes in their country would make it difficult to apply such a plan; meanwhile the Slovenian team took the plan as a good idea, but applied it with a different target group, including +55 years of citizens.
After this dynamic, participants reflected on the results that the project reached so far into Civic participation, Gender Equality or Citizenship, and took some time to think about the uses that all the outputs of the project can have in the future, the possible improvements and potential replicability and sustainability of the project.