The Mercator European Dialogue spoke to Lolita Čigāne, who joined the network in 2016 and who has served as chair of the European Affairs Committee in the parliament of Latvia (2014-2018), on her experience with the MED and why a more open and free-flowing dialogue matters in politics.
Our recently launched MED 120 workshop series provides parliamentarians from across Europe the opportunity to engage in 120 minutes of online dialogue to explore core implications of the Covid-19 crisis and discuss crucial policy responses with specialized experts. On 5. May 2020, ten parliamentarians from seven EU member states convened to exchange perspectives on European initiatives in response to the pandemic.
The Mercator European Dialogue brought into being the MP-Call series “Parliaments in times of Corona” to offer Parliamentarians a space for informal, inter-parliamentary exchanges amidst this unprecedented crisis.
European politics is complicated. The Mercator European Dialogue makes it personal. We put 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 member of a national parliament in Europe and are interested in learning more, contact us.> read more
Dialogues take place once a year, hosting between 30 and 60 Members of Parliament from all over the EU. 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.
As Incubators the MED team provides infrastructure, networks and technical support to MPs who would like to develop and upscale their own ideas. We support parliamentarians in promiting their initiatives online and offline. One such initiatives is the Open Letter Initiative, in which a group of five parliamentarians started a campaign to end the practice of shifting blame for political failures to the EU.
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.
The Mercator European Dialogue can help politicians gain access to diplomatic channels which may otherwise be unavailable to them. One example of soft diplomacy facilitated by the MED was a visit of a U.K. Member of Parliament to Spain after the Brexit vote. In Madrid, he met several other Members of Parliament to learn about the perception of Brexit in the Spanish public.