Citizens' advisory group in Oxford
The Citizensʼ Advisory Group in the UK took place on 7th December 2013 in Oxford. The citizens participating in the UK consultation live in or near Oxford and were randomly invited according to the following criteria: different age groups, different vocations, gender, attitude towards Europe (to provide a balance) and willingness to be part of a discussion on the future of Europe.
The event was organised by Val Webster, independent conference organiser, and Pexel who specialise in telephone research and event recruitment.
The citizens represented at the Citizensʼ Advisory Group in the UK preferred Strategic Option 5, which was given 42% of the vote. Their reasons for the choice ranged from the need to radically rethink the EU institutions and set up a more future-oriented EU to giving more power back to the UK to spend on services such as university education and the National Health Service (i.e. similar to Strategic Option 1). Overall, most participants viewed Strategic Option 5 as a possibility to end the frustration and disappointment connected to the EU and of increasing the knowledge and understanding citizens need.
However, some citizens avoided voting for Strategic Option 5, as they felt it was too close to “back to basics”, thus retaining the “more-or-less-EU-logic”. Strategic Option 2 was also voted for highly: 38% of the citizens liked the gradual, evolutionary approach which has the potential to move forward more ambitiously once current rules are better implemented and the EU engages better with its citizens, including more representative decision making. Those
who voted for Strategic Option 2 expect an increase in accountability and transparency and hope to see more economic well-being and peace if the UK is part of the future EU.