During the annual European Forum Alpbach, MPs from the Mercator European Dialogue (MED) network gathered to discuss the current state and future of European democracy, particularly addressing the role of participatory politics.
European politics is complicated. The Mercator European Dialogue makes it personal. We get you in touch with fellow parliamentarians to discuss pressing issues and help you realize your own initiatives. This is your chance to join a vibrant network of changemakers in parliaments across Europe and leading international policy experts. If you are a European member of parliament and are interested in learning more, contact us.> read more
Dialogues take place twice a year, hosting approximately 30 MPs from over a dozen European countries. The dialogues provide a space for constructive political conversations and the opportunity to share national perspectives with colleagues from across Europe, on key issues such as economic governance, migration policy and border security.
Workshops give small groups of up to 15 participants the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation on specific topics, accompanied by expert input. Workshops take place approximately four times per year in changing locations, such as Athens, Rome, Vienna, Barcelona.
Connecting and supporting our network is an ongoing task. Post-election calls are one way to ensure continued exchange within our network. These offer MPs the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, gather insights and discuss implications. The project team serves as a secretariat for individual MPs who are looking to connect to specific groups or persons in the network or simply want to keep in touch.
Fact-finding missions are a powerful way of gaining personal access to in-depth knowledge. For instance, a group of parliamentarians visited a refugee camp in Lesvos to get a first-hand impression of the situation and a chance to talk to refugees, as well as local and European authorities.
Incubators provide infrastructure, networks and technical support to MPs who would like to develop and upscale their own ideas. In the Open Letter Initiative, a group of five parliamentarians started a campaign to end the practice of shifting blame for political failures to the European Union. They drafted an open letter calling on other parliamentarians to join their cause. With the support of the MED team, they promoted their initiative online and offline, produced a campaign video and wrote a joint op-ed which was published in a major European news outlet. The open letter has since been signed by about 80 members of parliament from across Europe.
Thinking material is provided by policy experts from our network. The bite-sized articles and factsheets not only help inform MPs before and between meetings; they also draw on insights from the MPs in the network to produce valuable new output for larger audiences. All research products are part of an exclusive MED publication series.
Backchannel diplomacy can help politicians gain access to diplomatic channels which may otherwise be unavailable to them. One example of backchannel diplomacy facilitated by the MED was a visit of Scottish MP and MED member Stephen Gethins (Scottish National Party) to Spain after the Brexit vote. In Madrid, he met several opposition politicians to learn about the perception of Brexit in the Spanish public. Politico Europe later reported on the mission.