EPN SEMINAR: What is the place of the citizen in Europe and what is the role of civil society in shaping EU policies?

  13 November 2013 19:30

  EPN Office @ Auguste Reyerslaan 207, 1030 Schaarbeek, België


Citizens’ perspective in Europe

What is the place of the citizen in Europe and what is the role of civil society in shaping EU policies? 



Assya Kavrakova (Program Manager at ECAS)

Elisa Bruno (Project Coordinator at ECAS)

Citizens’ perspective in Europe

The year of 2013 has been chosen as the European Year of Citizens and dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship. Thus, as European Professionals Network (EPN), we are pleased to announce our next seminar on “Citizens’ perspective in Europe,” where we discuss the EU rights and the vision of how the EU should be in 2020. We will be honored to host Assya Kavrakova and Elisa Bruno from European Citizens Action Service ( ECAS ), seeking answers to the critical questions of “What is the place of the citizen in Europe and what is the role of civil society in shaping EU policies?” This lecture will shed the light on citizens rights, civic participation and civil society engagement at the European level with an accent on the recent developments across the union. Through the services of the European Citizens’ House and the 20-year experience of European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), case studies and practical examples on citizens’ rights and civic participation at the European level will be presented. EPN gladly welcomes you all to this event which we believe will be further enriched with your attendance and contribution. 



19:30 – 20:30 Lecture 

20:30 – 21:00 Questions & Answers

21:00 – 21:30 Cocktail


Biographies of the Speakers

Assya Kavrakova
 is the incoming Director of ECAS as of 1 January 2014 and she is currently Program Manager of the European Citizens’ House at ECAS, Brussels. Within its framework she supervises the EU Rights Clinic and the European citizens’ initiatives ECIs’ support centre.

Before joining ECAS she served for 12 years (2000 – 2012) as the Director of the European Policies and Civic participation Program at the Open Society Institute — Sofia. She was also leading the analytical and research activity of the European Policies Initiative at the OSI — Sofia and she has personally authored the paper “The Unfinished Business of the Fifth Enlargement Countries.” She has a Master’s degree in Law and a Master’s degree in European Integration from St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. She has worked as Public Policies and Outreach Director at the Democracy Network Program (DemNet) of the United States Agency for International Development. She was also the Executive Director of Transparency without Borders Association, the national branch office of Transparency International. Assya Kavrakova is a Fellow of German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, USA and a Fellow of the International Fellowship Programme, Brussels. She is the author of the Bulgarian chapter of the reports “TV across Europe: Regulation, Policy, Independence 2005” and “TV across Europe: Follow-up reports 2008” –of the OSI. EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program, publications available at www.mediapolicy.org  


Elisa Bruno is the Project Coordinator of the European Citizens’ House. She manages the digital portal of the European Citizens’ House as well as press relations and social media presence of the project. Within ECAS, Bruno further coordinates the ECI support centre and the EU Rights Clinic

Her international studies have taken her from Sciences Po, Paris to the College of Europe in Bruges (MA in European Political and Administrative Studies) where she wrote her dissertation on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). She also holds a Master in European Affairs from the University of Turin, Italy. 

She joined ECAS in 2012 after working for the French Ministry of Economy and Finance in 2008 and at the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) in 2011-2012. She also participated in the international competition for the Government of the Future, together with Accenture and the Lisbon Council.

Bruno speaks fluent Italian, English and French and is now studying Dutch in Brussels. 


About ECAS

ECAS was created in 1991 as an international non-profit organisation, independent of political parties, commercial interests and the EU Institutions. Its mission is to enable NGOs and individuals to make their voice heard within the EU by providing advice on how to lobby, fundraise, and defend European citizenship rights. ECAS is a large cross-sectoral European association bringing together members from different areas of activity such as civil liberties, culture, development, health and social welfare, as well as general civil society development agencies.


Ps. All guests attending this conference are kindly requested to register by email to register@epnetwork.eu or by calling +32 (0) 2 734 7900 by Nov.12, 2013.

**Event Report

 The European Citizenship was at the centre of the seminar “Citizens’ perspective in Europe: What is the place of the citizen in Europe and what is the role of civil society in shaping EU policies?” organised by the European Professionals Network (EPN) on November 13th 2013 in the framework of the European Year of Citizens. Assya Kavrakova, Programme Manager at ECAS, and Elisa Bruno, Programme Coordinator at ECAS were invited to introduce the topic and launch the debate.

 The results of Eurobarometers have proven us that it has become crucial to act on the growing gap between the EU and its citizens. The first step towards the reduction of this gap would be for citizens to understand and exercise their rights (i.e. political rights, rights to good administration, right to participate and free movement rights). Nowadays  it is very hard for the citizens to follow up with the complex legal procedures of the European institutions and thus for their voices to be heard.

In order to create a bridge between the citizens and the institutions, the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) developed the European Citizens’ House (ECH), a place where everybody can come to ask questions and benefit from advice on different subjects related to the European Union. The ECH also provides a support centre to help citizens willing to undertake European Citizens’ Initiatives. In addition, ECAS created this year the EU Rights Clinic which aim is to assist in solving difficult cases and making sure that European policy and legislation are being improved.

The seminar engendered numerous reactions and interventions from the participants, creating an interesting and lively debate.

Here is the video link to the full seminar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InimKav7cP8

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