european parliament ASP 1G2


'The importance of democratic sovereignty'

'Challenges and good local practices on economic, energy and food sovereignty'


Considering that a sovereign state is not subjugated, nor is it dependent on any other state or superior power, a state is not only sovereign from the moment it has a government, territory or settled population. A sovereign state should extend the meaning of the concept itself to include food, energy, economy… In addition, The “subsidiarity principle” of the EU affirms that “in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level.” The common perspective takes this principle further and points towards “horizontal subsidiarity“. The principle of horizontal subsidiarity is intended to re-orient public authorities away from the central state to an active citizenry who cooperatively govern common resources. This points to ways of collaborative governance of urban resources and civil-public partnership and moves away from the paradigm of either publicly /state governed or by means of public-private partnerships. The latter has led the privatisation and liberalisation of many of our urban common goods like water management, housing and transport.





While acknowledging that these concepts are generally accepted by European democratic States, unfortunately, they are not always taken care with due interest at heart, as reflected by transatlantic trade treaties, the Common Market, open borders or aggressive competition which all help to undermine  state’s sovereignty. They prioritise the economic interests of its rulers over the interests of its citizens, and through this initiative, we aim to rethink the concept of sovereignty in our policies in order to make them fit for our common interest and people’s dignity.
In addition, we aim to explore examples of communal natural resource management across Europe. Such experiences have generated a huge amount of interest both from academic spheres as well as from civil activism given their potential to enlighten new forms of self-organising and common management. We believe that giving voice to some of these initiatives in Brussels should be seriously considered. Meanwhile from a local perspective, many initiatives regarding neighbourhood activism and participation are being implemented to broaden energy, food and technological sovereignty, as well as initiatives aimed at returning the management of resources such as water to a public/community level. The concept of participation has been gradually replaced by political citizen coproduction. These experiences clash with legislation aimed at establishing limits to the autonomy of local governments (which is clearly the administration which is closer to citizens and the only ones capable of implementing such practices). The activities should fall within a framework of demands to the EU to modify legislations which hinder local sovereignty and jeopardising common management while paving way to further privatisation.

During the session, through the analysis of the concept of democratic sovereignty on four main policy areas, we will be lead to concrete policy recommendations.



European Parliament Room ASP 1G2

9h – 9h30     Registration of participants

9h30 – 10h30    Opening – The importance of democratic sovereignty
Manolo Monereo & Estefanía Torres

10h30 – 11h30 Panel I: energetic sovereignty
(Dependency, the role of the state, the biodiesel issue, the true renewals…)

MEP Marisa Matias – Introduction and moderation
Nuno Brito Jorge – COPERNICO Cooperative of renewal energy – Portugal
Presentation of local good practice & roundtable with the public
11h30 – 12h Coffee break

12h – 13h    Panel II: Economic Sovereignty in the context of free trade agreements

MEP Matt Carthy – Introduction and moderation
Mark Dearn – War on Want / anti-TTIP campaigner – UK
Presentation of local good practice & round table with the public

13h – 14h45 Lunch Break

15h – 17h   Panel III: Food sovereignty
(Local food production, internal market integration vs conditions of the local production.)
MEPs Merja Kyllönen and Estefanía Torres – Introduction and moderation
Pepe Esquinas – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations / Universidad Politécnica de Madrid – Spain
Anni-Mari Syväniemi – Local Food production from the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest owners of Finland – Finland
Andrea Olmedo – MONTENOSO Agriculture, feminism and commons in rural areas – Spain

Roundtable with the public

17h – 17h30 Break

17h30 – 18h Wrap up, conclusions and closing

MEP Estefanía Torres
MEP Matt Carthy
MEP Merja Kyllönen


For more information contact: [email protected]