A range of reforms to empower municipal movements and strengthen local government
Across Europe, mayors and municipal movements are inspiring people to participate in politics and create change at the local level. European Spring is proposing a comprehensive set of reforms to empower these movements and strengthen the role of local government in Europe. We will reform Europe’s competition laws in order to allow local governments to resist privatization and more easily re-municipalize public services. We will fight the new revisions to the Bolkestein Directive and reform the e-Commerce Directive in order to allow local governments to regulate local industries. We will work to change public procurement laws that currently restrict the possibilities for municipalities to promote a radical transition to sustainable and ethical economies. And we will fight to reform EU asylum law to enable municipal governments to welcome migrants against more restrictive national laws. Finally, we will create a new Parliamentary Committee to analyse the local impact of the ‘sharing economy,’ with the aim of establishing a common set of regulations that strengthen local government and respect local needs.
We will improve the European Citizens Initiative to give more power to the people
We believe that citizens should have a greater say over the future of Europe. As a first step, we will improve the European citizens initiative (ECI). We will lower the number of required supporters, and we will revoke the Commission’s right to dismiss ECIs at will.
Democratising EU Budget
We will devolve greater control over EU resources to European citizens
Despite its central role in EU public finance, citizens have limited say over how the EU budget is developed and decided. We will introduce new measures to devolve control over EU resources. We are calling for all European parties to publish their budget priorities ahead of European Parliament elections in order to allow citizens to express their preferences over EU expenditure. And we will allow citizens and grassroots organisations to participate in the ‘pilot-project’ phase of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Procedure, providing a portion of funding to their proposed projects in order to demonstrate their value and apply for more resources in the overall EU budget.
Budget Tracking Tool
A digital tool to enable the public to track the EU budget and its outcomes
Transparency for the EU budget is essential for combatting corruption and ensuring that EU money is spent fairly. We will develop a digital tool to enable the public to see where EU budget money is going, how it is spent, and what the outcomes of these projects are.
Guarantee access to Erasmus for every European
We will fight for a Universal Erasmus that guarantees access to the programme for every European youth. We will expand the budget in order to facilitate participation, and we will introduce new political education programs that encourage young people to pursue international activism. Our goal is to move beyond Erasmus’s focus on ‘marketable’ skills to support a pan-European youth movement.
Empowering Public Education
A plan for an integrated public education system that still respects regional diversity
We believe that a free and well-resourced public education system can be a powerful engine toward a fair and inclusive Europe. European Spring will introduce a plan for a more integrated European public education system that still respects the diversity of education models across the EU. New solidarity funds will invest in public education systems in order to balance outcomes across Europe. Each course of study, at both the high school and university levels, will guarantee a degree that fits into a common European framework with automatic equivalence across the EU. Among universities, public funding will be allocated on the basis of academic projects rather than rewarding a “publish or perish” culture. We will support professors to do inter-university exchange in order to facilitate academic dialogue between European universities. And we will make it easier for students to carry their credentials and training between universities and member-state education systems.
We will strengthen tenants’ rights and slow the pace of displacement
We will fight gentrification in order to support artists to keep their homes, studios, and galleries. We will strengthen tenants’ rights by introducing Europe-wide minimum tenancies that slow the pace of displacement. At the same time, we will oppose projects that take advantage of poor neighbourhoods for ‘aesthetic’ purposes. Art must become a vehicle for communities to express themselves, not a vehicle for profiting off the community.
Democratising Research and Innovation
A plan to democratise Horizon Europe and support grassroots innovation
The EU’s “Horizon Europe” invests billions of Euros each year in research and innovation. But European citizens have no say over the direction of these funds and even less control of the products and patents that they yield. We will democratise Horizon Europe, mandating citizen participation – rather than consultation – in defining the mission and destination of EU innovation funding, more resources dedicated to grassroots, social, and cooperative-based projects, and mandatory collective ownership rights for the products of public investment. European Spring believes that public money should deliver public knowledge, public ownership, and common wealth. The same principle applies for the development of artificial intelligence. The EU must invest in open AI to promote machine-learning and technological progress in Europe. And all ethical issues stemming from the rise of Artificial Intelligence should be settled democratically and debated at the European level.
European Public Broadcaster
Translate and deliver member-state content for a European audience
We will establish an independent European Public Broadcaster. The Broadcaster will translate and deliver member-state content for a European audience in order to develop a common culture. The Broadcaster will also employ its own journalists to produce content about European issues that will be aired across the European Union. Such content will include, for example, a European news broadcast that can be aired each day beside national main news programmes. Such an independent broadcaster will fortify the role of a free press in Europe and help bring Europeans together around common issues.
Beyond Structured Dialogue
A quota of youth representatives at every level of European governance
The voice of the youth is rarely heard in European politics today: few participate in politics, and fewer find a place at the negotiating table. European Spring will fight to include a quota of youth representatives at every level of European governance. In addition, we will radically expand the Structured Dialogue, reaching out to communities that have historically had little access to EU institutions and developing new digital platforms that can encourage participation among young people who cannot travel to participate in person. Europe’s youth will inherit its institutions: it must shape them, as well.
Expanding Access to the Arts
A radical expansion and renovation of the Creative Europe program
We are proposing a radical expansion and renovation of the Creative Europe program. The expansion will focus on supporting smaller, community-based projects. It will increase the number of annual grants for artists across EU member-states. And it will create a new fund that is dedicated to youth and their arts training.