To contribute to the Conference on the future of the EU and the ECB’s strategy review, Positive Money Europe and its partners have launched the European Citizens Bank, a participatory project which empowers citizens to formulate recommendations on the future orientations of the Eurozone’s central banks.

Since 2018, Positive Money Europe’s ambition has been to establish itself as the voice of citizens who want the European Central Bank to contribute as much as possible to make the Eurozone economy more fair, democratic and sustainable. And we have gone a long way by deploying direct advocacy efforts towards the ECB and the European Parliament. 

But let’s face it: lobbying by civil society organisations cannot perfectly substitute to direct expression of citizens’ concerns and preferences. This is why more direct forms of democratic processes are needed. As experience has shown in many countries, citizens, when given the space and the opportunity to speak on their own behalf, have proven they can produce reasonable recommendations. The French “citizens convention for climate” is one recent example, just as have been the multiple successful experiences of citizens assemblies in Ireland. 

Inspired by those examples, Positive Money Europe and its partners across Europe are proud to launch the European Citizens Bank project – an initiative to empower citizens to express their recommendations to the European Central Bank. 

Concretely, the project hosts a series of five citizens’ assemblies in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. During those two days events, citizens will formulate their recommendations to the European Central Bank and Eurozone.

This project, which received co-funding from the European Commission and the Open Society Foundation, was initially planned to take place in 2020. But for obvious pandemic reasons, the project has been rescheduled and reshaped into a full-online format. 

Join the debate now!

Today, the project is finally up and running! Citizens can join the online platform where everyone can debate, propose ideas for how the ECB should be reformed, or concrete policies they would like the ECB to deliver upon. To accompany this process, the Positive Money Europe team and its partners are currently organizing a series of 25 online events. These debates will allow people to understand better how central banking currently works and what are the pros and cons of the proposed evolutions to the ECB’s mission. This process has already started in France, with a successful inaugurating online event carried in partnership with the Banque de France last April 18th (watch the webinars here).

In a second phase, delegates from each country will meet altogether in Frankfurt and present their recommendations to the ECB and their respective national central banks. 

The European Central Bank has already stepped up the dialogue with citizens by launching the “ECB listens” initiative last year. Our project aims to complement those efforts (while adopting a more inclusive methodology). ECB Board member Isabel Schnabel welcomed our initiative, and Christine Lagarde always made clear that the ECB should listen to more than the usual suspects. We are hopeful that the ECB’s President Christine Lagarde will keep her promise to open the ECB to civil society, by allowing citizens to present their recommendations to the ECB in September, before the completion of its strategy review process.

Similarly, we will work to ensure that the conclusions also contribute to the Conference on the future of the EU and the citizens panels that will be organised during the Autumn.

To join the project and get a chance to take part in one of the five citizens assemblies, click here! 


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