Empowering Citizens of Small Member States

ECoSMS – Empowering Citizens of Small Member States, was an 18-month project (September 2015 to March 2017) funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Commission and being implemented by the NGO Support Centre in collaboration with Kopin from Malta and EstYES from Estonia.
The project sought to examine whether and to what extent citizens of small EU member states, feel that they have diminished influence as citizens of the European Union. Additionally, ECoSMS, lexplore the way such views affect citizens’ stance towards the EU at a practical level i.e. whether they are a cause of absenteeism in the European Elections. More importantly it pursued ways to address these fears/feelings and explored ways to empower citizens of smaller EU states.
Each organization conducted a research in its own country to collect and measures citizens’ views on the issue at hand and then organized three national round-table discussions through which citizens laid out their opinions and suggestions. The results and conclusions of the research and debate were used to draft a policy paper for each country which were presented in a joint Conference in Nicosia where commonalities and differences between the three countries were explored for the creation of a joint policy paper.

Policy Papers
The joint policy paper can be found on the following link: http://ngo-sc.org/Portals/0/ecosms_policy%20paper_final.pdf
The national policy paper of Cyprus can be found at the following link: http://ngo-sc.org/Portals/0/NGOSC_Cyprus_Policy%20Paper.pdf
The national policy paper of Malta can be found at the following link: http://www.kopin.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ECoSMS_Kopin_PolicyPaper_Malta_FINAL.pdf
The national policy paper of Estonia can be found at the following link:https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1SmD5ZduiT6X0w0eEU0NWVlY0U

Project activities 
5 events have been carried out within this project:

Event 1:
Participation: The event involved 12 citizens, including 9 participants from the city of Nicosia, Cyprus 
2 participants from the city of Valletta, Malta and 1 participant from the city of Tallinn, Estonia
Location / Dates: The event took place in Nicosia Cyprus from 10/09/2015 to 11/09/2015 
Short description:  The aim of the event was for the project team to work and finalise the project’s workplan, and timeline and finalise the methodology for its activities. The project team during the 2 days had the opportunity to discuss the national surveys and the methodology that will be used by the facilitators during the national meetings in Cyprus, Malta and Estonia. 

Event 2:
Participation: The event involved 45 citizens, including 45 participants from the city of Valletta, Malta
Location / Dates: The event took place in Valletta, Malta on 02/02/2016. 
Short description:  The aim of the event was to discuss the preliminary findings of the questionnaires and proceed to the identification of the opinion of the citizens about the European Union. Through the discussion, strength and weaknesses of the EU have been identified and commented, in order to produce a list from which the participants were able to identify key areas of action for the EU to become closer to citizens, especially those of small member states. The meeting was concluded a plenary where participants voted the most relevant recommendations that were used by the project team to draft the national policy paper of Malta.

Event 3:
Participation: The event involved 30 citizens, from the city of Nicosia, Cyprus.
Location / Dates: The event took place in Nicosia, Cyprus on 22/03/2016
Short description:  The aim of the event was to discuss the findings of the national questionnaire in Cyprus with participants and then discuss with them ways the relationship between citizens and the EU can be improved. Participant were given the opportunity to share their opinion and views about the EU and specifically how they view their involvement and then share recommendations for improving their engagement. The meeting was concluded with a plenary where participants voted the most relevant recommendations that were used by the project team to draft the national policy paper of Cyprus.

Event 4:
Participation: The event involved 42 citizens, including 36 participants from the city of Tallinn, Estonia and 6 participants from the city of Tartu, Estonia.
Location / Dates: The event took place in Tallinn, Estonia on 27/04.2016. 
Short description:  The aim of the event was to present participants the results of Estonian national survey on attitude of citizens towards EU and their knowledge about EU, to give firsthand information about functioning of EU nowadays and give participants chance to ask their questions, address concerns and debate over EU citizenship. The meeting was concluded a plenary where participants voted the most relevant recommendations that were used by the project team to draft the national policy paper of Estonia.
This event was conducted in close cooperation with Estonian Debating Society and Euroopa Liidu Maja (EU House in Tallinn).

Event 5: 
Participation: The event involved 57 citizens, including 49 participants from the city of Nicosia, Cyprus
4 participants from the city of Larnaca Cyprus, 1 participant from the city of Paphos, Cyprus, 1 participant from the city of Famagusta, Cyprus, 1 participant from the city of Tallinn, Estonia, 1 participant from the city of Valletta, Malta
Location / Dates: The event took place in Nicosia, Cyprus on the 15/02/2017 to 16/02/2017
Short description:  The aim of the event was to present the results of the national policy papers with the citizen recommendations for improving the involvement of citizens of small members states in the EU and enhance those recommendations through further suggestions of citizens during the conference. Additionally, the conference aimed at raising the awareness of participants about the work of civil society in campaigning to the EU through 2 presentations by European platforms and a presentation by a representative from the European Parliament Information Office in Cyprus. 
The last day was dedicated to a meeting with the project’s steering group in order to discuss the national policy papers and the recommendations from the conference in order to create a joint policy paper.