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1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Rue de la Loi 42
Brussels, 1040
02 842 42 42

We organised a Thinking Day about digital commons and re-thinking democracy, on the 26 May in Brussels, with the support of Oikos.


This event is part of our ongoing transnational project Reclaim the Commons which this year has a special focus on digital commons under the title (W)E-Democracy. More specifically, this year we foster  the understanding of the possibilities that emerge in the digital age for citizens to organise themselves in innovative ways and to generate influence and even co-create policy decisions that affect their lives.

The 21st century democracy in Europe is in dire straits. Citizens feel disconnected with politics, and a growing distrust has led to the lowest participation in European elections ever in 2014. According to the latest Eurobarometer, a staggering 54% of citizens thinks that their voice doesn’t count in the EU. Democracy seems overdue for a profound upgrade. How can we reverse the erosion?

Our digitising society forms a fertile breeding ground for citizens to get organized in innovative ways, and gain more power to influence and even co-create policy decisions that affect their lives. Digital initiatives like online knowledge centres and participation platforms are popping up all over Europe. What is the potential of these technologies to transform and rethink democracy? What are the threats? And how can local governments anticipate to this growing tendency?



(W)E-Democracy takes a look from different angles at promising (citizen) initiatives who employ digital tools to strengthen democracy. We invited Lina Dencik from Cardiff University to talk about citizen rights in a digitised society. We then discussed two successful online platforms: CitizenLab, introduced to us by founder Wietse Van Ransbeeck and DemocracyOS France, presented by its President Caroline Corbal. Next, Xabier E. Barandiaran and Arnau Monterde from Decidim Barcelona shared their experiences with open democracy on city level. Last but not least, Imade Annouri, Green Member of Flemish Parliament, and Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir, Chair of the Young Pirates in Iceland, reflected on the possibilities of e-democracy for political parties.



13:00h:  Introduction (Dirk Holemans, Coordinator of Oikos and Coordinator of the GEF transnational project Reclaim the Commons)

13:20h: Young Europeans fighting surveillance (Lea Caillere)

13:40h: Citizen rights in a digital era (Lina Dencik)

14:25h: – Digital participation: CitizenLab (Wietse Van Ransbeeck) 

– Digital commons: DemocracyOS (Caroline Corbal)

15:20h:  break

15:35h:  E-democratic cities (Arnau Monterde and Xabier E. Barandiaran)

16:05h:  Digital parties – closing panel (Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir and Imade Annouri)

17:00h:  closing drink

More information on the key speakers can be found on the Oikos website.


Location & Date:


The event will take place at L42, Rue de la Loi 42, on Friday, the 26 May, from 13h onwards.



The event is free of charge. Please register here.


Not able to attend the event in Brussels?

The event will be livestreamed by our partner foundations Fondation de l’Écologie Politique (Paris, France), Fundacja Strefa Zieleni (Warsaw, Poland) as well as the Cooperation and Development Network Eastern Europe (Belgrade, Serbia).


Rue de la Loi 42
Brussels, 1040

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