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Collective intelligence at EU level: Social and democratic dimensions

31-03-2020

Humans are among the many living species capable of collaborative and imaginative thinking. While it is widely agreed among scholars that this capacity has contributed to making humans the dominant species, other crucial questions remain open to debate. Is it possible to encourage large groups of people to engage in collective thinking? Is it possible to coordinate citizens to find solutions to address global challenges? Some scholars claim that large groups of independent, motivated, and well-informed ...

Humans are among the many living species capable of collaborative and imaginative thinking. While it is widely agreed among scholars that this capacity has contributed to making humans the dominant species, other crucial questions remain open to debate. Is it possible to encourage large groups of people to engage in collective thinking? Is it possible to coordinate citizens to find solutions to address global challenges? Some scholars claim that large groups of independent, motivated, and well-informed people can, collectively, make better decisions than isolated individuals can – what is known as 'collective intelligence.' The social dimension of collective intelligence mainly relates to social aspects of the economy and of innovation. It shows that a holistic approach to innovation – one that includes not only technological but also social aspects – can greatly contribute to the EU's goal of promoting a just transition for everyone to a sustainable and green economy in the digital age. The EU has been taking concrete action to promote social innovation by supporting the development of its theory and practice. Mainly through funding programmes, it helps to seek new types of partners and build new capacity – and thus shape the future of local and national innovations aimed at societal needs. The democratic dimension suggests that the power of the collective can be leveraged so as to improve public decision-making systems. Supported by technology, policy-makers can harness the 'civic surplus' of citizens – thus providing smarter solutions to regulatory challenges. This is particularly relevant at EU level in view of the planned Conference on the Future of Europe, aimed at engaging communities at large and making EU decision-making more inclusive and participatory. The current coronavirus crisis is likely to change society and our economy in ways as yet too early to predict, but recovery after the crisis will require new ways of thinking and acting to overcome common challenges, and thus making use of our collective intelligence should be more urgent than ever. In the longer term, in order to mobilise collective intelligence across the EU and to fully exploit its innovative potential, the EU needs to strengthen its education policies and promote a shared understanding of a holistic approach to innovation and of collective intelligence – and thus become a 'global brain,' with a solid institutional set-up at the centre of a subsidised experimentation process that meets the challenges imposed by modern-day transformations.

Digital democracy: Is the future of civic engagement online?

05-02-2020

Digital innovation is radically transforming democratic decision-making. Public administrations are experimenting with mobile applications (apps) to provide citizens with real-time information, using online platforms to crowdsource ideas, and testing algorithms to engage communities in day-to-day administration. The key question is what technology breakthrough means for governance systems created long before digital disruption. On the one hand, policy-makers are hoping that technology can be used ...

Digital innovation is radically transforming democratic decision-making. Public administrations are experimenting with mobile applications (apps) to provide citizens with real-time information, using online platforms to crowdsource ideas, and testing algorithms to engage communities in day-to-day administration. The key question is what technology breakthrough means for governance systems created long before digital disruption. On the one hand, policy-makers are hoping that technology can be used to legitimise the public sector, re-engage citizens in politics and combat civic apathy. Scholars, on the other hand, point out that, if the digitalisation of democracy is left unquestioned, the danger is that the building blocks of democracy itself will be eroded. This briefing examines three key global trends that are driving the on-going digitalisation of democratic decision-making. First are demographic patterns. These highlight growing global inequalities. Ten years from now, in the West the differentials of power among social groups will be on the rise, whereas in Eastern countries democratic freedoms will be at risk of further decline. Second, a more urbanised global population will make cities ideal settings for innovative approaches to democratic decision-making. Current instances of digital democracy being used at local level include blockchain technology for voting and online crowdsourcing platforms. Third, technological advancements will cut the costs of civic mobilisation and pose new challenges for democratic systems. Going forward, democratic decision-makers will be required to bridge digital literacy gaps, secure public structures from hacking, and to protect citizens' privacy.

Using technology to 'co-create' EU policies

17-01-2020

What will European Union (EU) decision-making look like in the next decade and beyond? Is technological progress promoting more transparent, inclusive and participatory decision-making at EU level? Technology has dramatically changed both the number and quality of connections between citizens and public administrations. With technological progress, citizens have gained improved access to public authorities through new digital communication channels. Innovative, tech-based, approaches to policy-making ...

What will European Union (EU) decision-making look like in the next decade and beyond? Is technological progress promoting more transparent, inclusive and participatory decision-making at EU level? Technology has dramatically changed both the number and quality of connections between citizens and public administrations. With technological progress, citizens have gained improved access to public authorities through new digital communication channels. Innovative, tech-based, approaches to policy-making have become the subject of a growing debate between academics and politicians. Theoretical approaches such as ‘CrowdLaw’, ‘Policy-Making 3.0’, ‘liquid’, ‘do-it-yourself’ or ‘technical’ democracy and ‘democratic innovations’ share the positive outlook towards technology; and technology is seen as the medium through which policies can be ‘co-created’ by decision-makers and stakeholders. Co-creation is mutually beneficial. Decision-makers gain legitimacy by incorporating the skills, knowledge and expertise of citizens, who in turn have the opportunity to shape new policies according to their needs and expectations. EU institutions are at the forefront of experimentation with technologically innovative approaches to make decision-making more transparent and accessible to stakeholders. Efforts in modernising EU participatory channels through technology have evolved over time: from redressing criticism on democratic deficits, through fostering digital interactions with stakeholders, up to current attempts at designing policy-making in a friendly and participative manner. While technological innovation holds the promise of making EU policy-making even more participatory, it is not without challenges. To begin with, technology is resource consuming. There are legal challenges associated with both over- and under-regulation of the use of technology in policy-making. Furthermore, technological innovation raises ethical concerns. It may increase inequality, for instance, or infringe personal privacy.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

28-06-2019

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counterterrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

2019 European elections: National rules

11-04-2019

This infographic contains up-to-date information on key data concerning the forthcoming European elections (to be held in May 2019). In a one-page format, readers will find information on the election day in each country, the voting systems adopted at Member State level, as well as on rules governing eligibility and allocation of seats. The infographic also explains the re-distribution of seats which would take place following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, now expected to take place ...

This infographic contains up-to-date information on key data concerning the forthcoming European elections (to be held in May 2019). In a one-page format, readers will find information on the election day in each country, the voting systems adopted at Member State level, as well as on rules governing eligibility and allocation of seats. The infographic also explains the re-distribution of seats which would take place following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, now expected to take place only after the European elections, and the consequent overall reduction in the total number of seats to 705. Further information and clarification is provided on the second page of the infographic.

Ochrona sygnalistów

10-04-2019

Proponowane nowe rozporządzenie UE w sprawie ochrony osób zgłaszających przypadki naruszenia unijnego prawa obejmuje szeroką gamę przepisów UE, w tym dotyczących prania pieniędzy, opodatkowania przedsiębiorstw, ochrony danych, ochrony interesów finansowych Unii, bezpieczeństwa żywności i produktów, ochrony środowiska i bezpieczeństwa jądrowego. Głosowanie w Parlamencie nad zatwierdzeniem kompromisowego tekstu wniosku ma się odbyć na ostatniej sesji plenarnej w tej kadencji.

Proponowane nowe rozporządzenie UE w sprawie ochrony osób zgłaszających przypadki naruszenia unijnego prawa obejmuje szeroką gamę przepisów UE, w tym dotyczących prania pieniędzy, opodatkowania przedsiębiorstw, ochrony danych, ochrony interesów finansowych Unii, bezpieczeństwa żywności i produktów, ochrony środowiska i bezpieczeństwa jądrowego. Głosowanie w Parlamencie nad zatwierdzeniem kompromisowego tekstu wniosku ma się odbyć na ostatniej sesji plenarnej w tej kadencji.

Zwiększenie bezpieczeństwa dokumentów tożsamości obywateli UE

02-04-2019

Oczekuje się, że w kwietniu Parlament Europejski zagłosuje nad wnioskiem ustawodawczym mającym na celu zwiększenie bezpieczeństwa dowodów tożsamości obywateli UE, jak również dokumentów pobytowych wydawanych obywatelom Unii i członkom ich rodzin. Wniosek ma na celu ograniczenie wykorzystywania fałszywych dokumentów, którymi terroryści i przestępcy mogą posługiwać się przy wjeździe do UE z państw spoza UE.

Oczekuje się, że w kwietniu Parlament Europejski zagłosuje nad wnioskiem ustawodawczym mającym na celu zwiększenie bezpieczeństwa dowodów tożsamości obywateli UE, jak również dokumentów pobytowych wydawanych obywatelom Unii i członkom ich rodzin. Wniosek ma na celu ograniczenie wykorzystywania fałszywych dokumentów, którymi terroryści i przestępcy mogą posługiwać się przy wjeździe do UE z państw spoza UE.

The institutional architecture of EU anti-fraud measures: Overview of a network

18-06-2018

In the European Union, several institutions, agencies and other bodies (collectively referred to as 'EU authorities') are concerned with preventing and combating fraud related to the EU budget. These EU authorities, and the activities they carry out – including policy-making, monitoring and operational tasks – make up a multi-layered network in which Member States and international organisations are also included. At the domestic level, national authorities contribute by detecting, prosecuting and ...

In the European Union, several institutions, agencies and other bodies (collectively referred to as 'EU authorities') are concerned with preventing and combating fraud related to the EU budget. These EU authorities, and the activities they carry out – including policy-making, monitoring and operational tasks – make up a multi-layered network in which Member States and international organisations are also included. At the domestic level, national authorities contribute by detecting, prosecuting and reporting fraudulent behaviour in the use of European Union funds to the European Commission. At the same time, a number of international organisations coordinate efforts across countries and legal systems to combat fraud. The present analysis offers an overview of this network, with a focus on the European Union institutional framework.

Ochrona sygnalistów na poziomie UE

23-10-2017

W październiku Parlament Europejski będzie omawiał sprawozdanie z własnej inicjatywy na temat prawnie uzasadnionych środków ochrony sygnalistów. Okazali się oni być podstawowym źródłem informacji na temat działań przynoszących szkodę interesowi publicznemu. W sprawozdaniu wezwano Komisję do przestawienia przekrojowego wniosku ustawodawczego w sprawie skutecznej ochrony sygnalistów w UE.

W październiku Parlament Europejski będzie omawiał sprawozdanie z własnej inicjatywy na temat prawnie uzasadnionych środków ochrony sygnalistów. Okazali się oni być podstawowym źródłem informacji na temat działań przynoszących szkodę interesowi publicznemu. W sprawozdaniu wezwano Komisję do przestawienia przekrojowego wniosku ustawodawczego w sprawie skutecznej ochrony sygnalistów w UE.

Nuclear decommissioning assistance

05-04-2017

Following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the EU launched several nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes (NDAP) to help Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Slovakia safely close and dismantle their early Soviet-designed reactors while acceding to the EU. The NDAPs provide financial assistance for decommissioning, dismantling and waste management projects; energy-sector projects aimed at mitigating the consequences of reactor shutdowns; and projects addressing the socio-economic consequences of decommissioning ...

Following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the EU launched several nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes (NDAP) to help Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Slovakia safely close and dismantle their early Soviet-designed reactors while acceding to the EU. The NDAPs provide financial assistance for decommissioning, dismantling and waste management projects; energy-sector projects aimed at mitigating the consequences of reactor shutdowns; and projects addressing the socio-economic consequences of decommissioning. The European Commission estimates that between 1999 and 2020, financial support for the NDAP programmes will total approximately €3.8 billion.

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