Giving Europe a voice

How the European Citizens’ Consultations opened a direct channel between the EU and its citzens

In 2005, voters in France and the Netherlands rejected, in two referenda, the treaty of Rome establishing a European Constitution. In 2008, Irish voters rebuffed the Lisbon treaty, Rome’s watered down successor. Amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Brussels struggled to figure out what went wrong. Indeed, the rebukes came despite support from national politicians and a flood of pro-EU campaigns. It was clear that voters’ mistrust of the EU had been underestimated, and that no amount of advertising could bridge the divide between Europe’s politicians and the citizens they are meant to serve.

Christian Hänel

Christian Hänel has been with the Robert Bosch Foundation since 2001. He joined the as participant in the Robert Bosch Foundation Leadership Development Programme and became programme officer German-American relations in 2003. From 2006 to 2007, he served as executive assistant to the chairman of the board of management. Since 2008, Hänel has been deputy head of department for International Relations Western Europe, America, Turkey, Japan, India. Before joining the Robert Bosch Foundation, he worked in media distribution and sales.