I’ve been trying to spend some time this week looking at the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) in the context of the work I’m doing here at the University of Washington on the EU and digital engagement.
Colleagues responsible for the ECI in the Commission, as well as people outside the institutions who are working on some of the first Citizens’ Initiatives, have been kind enough to share their experiences with me. There are several academic analyses that have been published on the ECI, including Citizens Initiatives in Europe – Procedures and Consequences of Agenda-Setting by Citizens and a special issue of the Journal Perspectives on European Politics and Society. And I’ve found it interesting to begin comparing the ECI with citizens’ initiatives and petitions here in the USA.
UW students getting to grips with European integration!
Two things have particularly impressed me during my first two weeks as a European Union Fellow at the University of Washington.
The first is the warm welcome and useful advice I have received from the people I am working with at the University, particularly Phil Shekleton and his colleagues at the Jackson School of International Studies.
The second is how interested and well informed both faculty and students are here about events thousands of kilometres away in the European Union. The breadth and depth of their knowledge is impressive, although clearly the Euro crisis continues to dominate both the press coverage and public image of the EU on this side of the Atlantic.
My workplace for the next six months – Jackson School of International Studies
The winter term starts today at the University of Washington (UW), where I will be spending the next 6 months as an EU Fellow. Founded in 1861, the University is one of the oldest and largest on the West Coast of the USA. It is also one of 10 US Universities that host an “EU Center of Excellence” designed to promote teaching and research on EU affairs.
The University has been pretty quiet since I arrived a few days ago in the middle of the winter break. I’ve enjoyed exploring the impressive facilities and picturesque campus on the shores of Union Bay, close to downtown Seattle. I have also had some interesting first exchanges with the new colleagues I will be working with at the Jackson School of International Studies.