Tomorrow’s Europe : The Democratic Deficit in the EU and the Deliberative Polling of Major European Union Questions by James S. Fishkin of Stanford


Via the Stanford News Service we were alerted to an October 10, 2007 Stanford Report by Lisa Trei on Polling that puts Europe in one room that pointed to an experiment in deliberative polling for the EU held in Brussels in which 362 people from 27 EU countries, representing 21 different languages, for three days discussed the future of Europe in a program called “Tomorrow’s Europe“, as coordinated by Notre Europe and sponsored by Allianz-AGF as the organizational sponsor as well as by sponsors Thalys, Foundation Open Society Institute – a Soros Foundations Network, Renée B. Fisher Foundation, and the Hippocrene Foundation.

The reason for the experiment was explained by its conductor, Stanford Professor James S. Fishkin, as the phenomenon of a “democratic deficit” in the EU. Lisa Trei wrote in this regard:

According to Fishkin, the EU has turned to deliberative polling to address a so-called “democratic deficit”—a perception of many Europeans that they cannot take part in EU-related debates because they are too complex and technical.


In Citizens resist expansion of European Union, support later retirement, Lisa Trei produces a summary of the results of that EU deliberative polling experiment “Tomorrow’s Europe”.

Topics covered were:

EU enlargement – EU citizens find that enlargement has been too fast and they are cautious about admitting more countries to the EU

National Sovereignty and qualified majority voting – EU citizens put their own national sovereignty first and were not ready for weighted systems of majority voting (i.e. qualified majority voting)

Pension systems and pension policies

The role of the EU in the world, including the problem of Russia, energy supply issues, and diplomatic relations

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