Citizens win the European award in the 2011 eDemocracy Awards
Last week, Fondation EurActiv PoliTech handed out the European award in the 2011 eDemocracy Awards to the Icelandic Citizens Foundation at the Quai d’Orsay. The ceremony took place next to the salon de l’Horloge, the prestigious venue of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs where Robert Schuman called for a United Europe in 1950. Fondation EurActiv PoliTech is the World e-Democracy Awards’ European partner. The Citizens Foundation (website:www.citizens.is) promotes democracy online. Like most Icelandic citizens, Gunnar Grimsson and Robert Bjarnason, the Citizens Foundation founders, took part in the online drafting of a new Icelandic constitution. The Icelandic Shadow Parliament’ and a ‘Better Reykjavik’ are two successful online platforms developed by the foundation to encourage dialogue and debate amongst Iceland’s citizens and their representatives.
Gunnar Grimsson stated: “We sincerely hope that the open active democracy platforms we developed, our own experiences and not least the lessons learned from Iceland’s history will contribute to further improve transparency and democracy around the world.” Robert Bjarnason, his colleague, continued: “It is our sincere belief that the kind of software we developed can make a difference where people really want to debate, prioritize or discuss ideas that contribute to a better democracy”.
“Three things characterise the Reykjavik entry. Its impact, its speed and its potential Europeanness.” stated Christophe Leclercq, Founder of Fondation EurActiv PoliTech as he delivered the award. “Firstly, their websites’ impact, because they involved 40% of Reykjavik’s citizens and obtained direct implementation of many proposals in political programmes. Secondly, their speed, as they achieved this in one week, in the run-up to the Reykjavik local elections. And thirdly, their Europeanness. Iceland is a candidate for EU membership. As Europe prepares for European Citizen Initiatives, this can be a source of inspiration for others in Europe.”