Through the development of the project Citizen Participation and Open Government Strategy, the city of Gijon wants to work hand in hand with the citizens and the associative and economic networks of the city.
The Participation and Open Government Strategy was elaborated following different stages to create social value. Informing the citizens and listening to their demands and expectations in terms of participation so as to be aware of the real needs of the inhabitants. The next step has been to exchange about their ideas in a collaborative manner and making decisions on the actions to take and implement for the good of the project, its effectiveness and long term impact.
Stakeholders and beneficiaries got involved at a very early stage in the project. The initiative gather together a diversity of actors : Political: City Council (all political parties),Technical: Civil servants with different technical expertise, Citizens of Gijon, NGO’s and Gijon based associations and economic partners such as Fundacion CTIC, Tecnalia, Desidedatum (start-up), T-Systems Iberia, Claritic’s…
The project has permitted to release an open data and transparency portal to publish information about the city and its management: observa.gijon.es. The website is providing data about the infrastructures of the city, the expenses made by the city council thanks to the citizen’s taxes, transportation data and information, digital initiative of the city, environment, election, demography…
Image: Gijon Observa portal home page
Having access to a global website concerning all of the activities of their city is giving opportunity for the citizens to feel more involved in the future decisions that will have direct impact on their daily lives. In this perspective, they are given the right to suggest their improvements for their city in a dedicated section on the website.
Another existing portal allows citizens to contribute to the maintenance, improvement and conservation of the city’s infrastructures. The point is to create awareness on the individual impact of the citizen on the present and future of their city.
The third instrument to enhance the participation of the citizen the live of Gijon is the portal participa.gijon.es. It has been created to centralize debates before legislation, to open debates and proposals on the city of Gijón, to publicly share the results of Participatory Budgets for the city and allow direct exchange with the city (i.e. 6 million on the budget).
These initiatives focus on the new models of cities that are beginning to promote the participatory economy and new policies and trends that look to the future of European cities.
Gijon City Council has responded to the need for greater efficiency, transparency and participatory democracy by changing how it operates. At the heart of its transformation is a digital platform enabling residents to share responsibility for governing and managing the city and helping it become a stronger and more vibrant place to live and work.
The initiative of Gijon is a clear asset for EU-wide tools such as the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). ECI is an unique and innovative way for citizens to shape Europe by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. Once an initiative gathers 1 million signatures, the Commission decides on what follow-up action to take. It is a participatory democracy instrument that allows citizens to suggest concrete legal changes in any field where the European Commission has power to propose legislation, such as the environment, agriculture, energy, transport or trade.
An initiative enables citizens from different member states to come together around an issue close to their heart with a view to influencing EU policy-making. To launch an initiative, it takes 7 EU citizens, living in at least 7 different Member States who are old enough to vote.
Moreover, it could inspire the endeavours of the EU in order to simplify its policies, namely through the HIgh Level Group on Simplification. Although the achievements of the EU Cohesion Policy are undeniably positive, the current volume of rules does not always make life easy for local authorities managing EU funds or businesses looking to apply for EU funding. Simplification is therefore key and the European Commission should look into how to further simplify access to EU funds in the budget framework post 2020.