Successful Campaigning on the European level

Chiara Aron, Daria Belysheva & Viviane Schulze (2020)

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In the European Union, there are various options for citizens to influence European policy-making, e. g. the European Citizens’ Initiative, petitions to the European Parliament, public and online consultations and civil dialogues. One more option is to raise awareness for a certain issue with the aid of campaigning. The question of what a good citizens’ campaign needs to fulfill to actually be adopted into EU policy will be answered within this study. The present project belongs to the areas of civil society, European citizenship and citizen engagement and deals in more detail with campaigning within the framework of a campaign’s potential influence on policy-making in the European Union. The issue to be discussed is under which conditions a campaign can be successful on European level. 

For that, a case study of the campaign Free Interrail and the thereupon implemented European program DiscoverEU is conducted. The campaign demanded a free Interrail ticket to travel Europe by train for all 18-year-olds in order to see Europe’s cultures and diversity first hand and to develop an understanding of what it means to be a European citizen. The campaigners managed to be heard by the European institutions and a large amount of their concept was implemented within the program DiscoverEU that currently offers a restricted amount of tickets to European applicants aged 18 years. The case of Free Interrail caused a lot of attention in the media and politics which is why the institutional bodies are still working closely together with the campaigners on improving the final DiscoverEU program in order to make it part of the Erasmus+ program from 2021 onwards. Thus, this is a case of successful campaigning on EU level. 

The research goal of this study is to identify criteria that enhance the likelihood of campaigns. In this specific case, we examine why the Free Interrail campaign has successfully been implemented into a European policy. For this purpose, we find out reasons for general success of campaigns with the aid of criteria from case studies and analyzes. Additionally, we analyze the responsiveness of the European institutions to campaigns and define the term success in the specific framework. The discussion focuses on the question: What does a campaign need to do in order to make the European bodies active and aware of a certain issue within a specific policy area? In order to analyze this issue, we summarize arguments that were decisive for the success of Free Interrail. The results show that using different methods to push a project to EU level importance is the key to a response by the EU.


To read the Master Project in its entirety, click here.

Letzte Änderung: 19.12.2023 - Ansprechpartner: Webmaster