In a groundbreaking move towards fostering greater citizen involvement in the democratic process, Sortition Europe Nonprofit Kft has officially launched. This subsidiary of Sortition Foundation is based in Budapest, Hungary and was officially founded on the 4th of September 2023, with the aim of building a Sort-EU Network of trusted partners across the continent. Sortition Europe aims to run democratic lotteries for European Citizens' Panels and other transnational European citizens’ assemblies.
The Rise of Citizens' Panels in the EU
Citizens' panels have emerged as a crucial element of democratic life within the European Union (EU). These panels, comprising citizens selected by democratic lottery from all 27 member states, convene to discuss and provide recommendations on key proposals that impact the entire European community. Notably, three panels have already met between mid-December 2022 and the end of April 2023, addressing the issues of food waste, virtual worlds, and learning mobility. This first step towards institutionalisation of citizens’ panels at the EU level is a legacy of The Conference on the Future of Europe, a citizen-led series of debates and discussions held from April 2021 to May 2022, which successfully embedded deliberative democracy in EU policy making.
Ready for EU-wide Democratic Lotteries
Expressing enthusiasm for the launch of Sortition Europe, Brett Hennig, Co-founder and Director of Sortition Foundation and the new Managing Director of Sortition Europe, stated, "We are thrilled to embark on this EU-wide project that aims to bring citizens to the forefront of decision-making. Sortition offers a unique and inclusive approach to representation, allowing for a diverse range of voices to be heard. Across Europe and across the world, it’s never been more important for the voices of ordinary people to be heard. With the creation of Sortition Europe and the coming together of the Sort-EU Network, we hope to contribute towards more participatory and deliberative forms of democracy as they emerge in the European Union. We think this work is the beginning of a shift towards democratic structures that really put diverse people from all walks of life at the heart of steering our collective future."
Sort-EU Network's Approach to Panel Selection
Sortition Europe aims to actively contribute to this evolving democratic landscape by responding to a call for tenders for EU-wide democratic lotteries. It is expected that a new series of European Citizens’ Panels will begin before the EU elections in June 2024. The scope of the work involves selecting participants by lottery from all over the EU to form new Citizens' Panels, each comprising 150 individuals from a possible 448 million people living all across Europe.
To ensure a fair and transparent lottery process, Sortition Europe will employ a meticulous sortition methodology in collaboration with its partners in the Sort-EU Network. The network's partners will reach out to selected neighbourhoods by lottery and then doorknock at the selected locations to convince people that their voice can really count. Interested people will go into the draw to become a member of the Panel using a fair selection method that ensures that the final panel genuinely represents the diverse European population.
If you want to join the Sort-EU please just get in touch!