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Centre for European Research

Agenda Initiatives in Comparative Context: Enhancing Channels for Democratic Participation

12 September 2019

Time: 1:00 - 5:45pm
Venue: Room 3.1, Third Floor, Queen Mary Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Northgate House, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB

The School of Law at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Zurich invites you to a workshop:
This workshop brings together scholars from the disciplines of law and political science to explore agenda initiatives. Agenda initiatives allow citizens to use a signature gathering exercise to call for legislative action. They are a relatively little known, little studied and often misunderstood form of direct democracy (as compared to its more powerful cousin, the referendum). The workshop will explore questions of institutional design across a range of different constitutional systems, and also empirical practice and the actual impact (as contrasted with theoretical potential) of agenda initiatives broadly conceived as mechanisms to open up channels of democratic participation.
1.00 - Welcome and Coffee

1.10 - Opening remarks

1.15 - Situating agenda initiatives within the family of direct democratic institutions: Professor Matt Qvortrup (Coventry)

1.30 - 3.15 - Panel I: Agenda Initiatives in Europe (Chair: Professor Daniel Moeckli, Zurich)
Mapping the agenda initiative in Europe: Dr Fernando Mendez (Zurich)

  • Austria: Professor Klaus Poier (University of Graz).
  • Finland: Professor Maija Setälä (University of Turku)
  • Spain: Dr Orestes Suárez Antón (European Parliament)

3.15 - 3.30:  Coffee break

3.30 - 4.30 - Panel II: Agenda initiatives in Latin America (Chair: Dr Sam Halvorsen, QMUL) 

  • Lessons from agenda initiatives in Latin America: Dr Orestes Suárez Antón (European Parliament)
  • Argentina: Professor Sebastián Linares Lejarraga (Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina)

4.30 - 5.30 - Panel III: The European Citizens’ Initiative (Chair: Dr Eva Nanopoulos, QMUL)

  • From genesis to reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative:  Dr Mario Mendez (QMUL)
  • The admissibility test and the role of the European Parliament: Dr Anastasia Karatzia (University of Essex).

5.30 - 5.45 Closing Remarks

**This workshop will be followed by a drinks reception

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