Capital Foundation started the implementation of a project for debating euroscepticism in Bulgaria. The “CODES – Comprehending and Debating Euroscepticism” project is funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European union and is implemented by an international consortium of eight organizations representing seven countries.
Leading partner is the Comenius University in Bratislava, and the other participants are Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik – Germany, EuroPolicy – Slovakia, Sabiedriskas politikas centrs Providus – Latvia, Foundation Euractive politech – Belgium, Social Development Institute Kutato és Elemzo Intézet Nonprofi and World of NGOs – Austria.
The project envisages deepening the debate with citizens on their perception of EU membership initiated by Comenius University during the Slovak Presidency in 2016. The university initiative has confirmed the erosion of positive attitudes even in countries such as Slovakia, with traditionally high level of support for the EU. This is why the project will stimulate debate among EU citizens and provoke their thinking about alternatives and possible negative consequences of the future without the EU.
The main objective of the project is to raise awareness and recognize the benefits to the EU among citizens. Assumptions based on past research and public activities are that the EU often presents itself as a distant culprit for bad policies, while the benefits often being neglected.
The project will organize public debates with citizens in their local environment. The debates are aimed at revealing the sources of public Europospism. Workshops with local opinion leaders will discuss and identify the instruments with the greatest potential to present the EU’s benefits to the development of regions and local communities.
The main expected outcome of the project is a communication strategy based on a bottom-up approach to present the European Union and the effects of being its membe. The results and lessons learned from the project can be used actively in the preparation of the European Union’s communication strategy. The project conclusions will be presented to the EU institutions prior to the 2019 European Parliament election campaign.
Citizens will benefit from the project by gaining more comprehensible and accessible information on the benefits of EU membership and thus contributing to counteracting the spread of Euroscepticism across the EU.
The project was supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.