Under the patronage of Wolfgang Schäuble, president of the German Bundestag (Parliament), a nationwide citizens’ assembly on “Germany’s Role in the World” took place in January and February 2021. Involving 160 citizens selected by lot, the assembly aimed to achieve two things:
- to develop recommendations for the German Bundestag regarding the role of Germany on the global stage. These included five topics: sustainable development, economy and trade, peace and security, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the European Union;
- to explore the extent to which civic participation is a viable instrument for supporting parliamentary work, and to develop a suitable format for Germany at a national level.
The first phase comprised a multi-stage process to specify the issues at hand. This involved the parliamentary groups, relevant Bundestag committees, subject experts, civil society organizations, and citizens selected at random. The issues identified during this process were addressed in ten online sessions in January and February 2021, allowing time for expert input, deliberation, and to draw up the recommendations. The results were publicly presented to the Bundestag and its president on March 19, 2021. In the subsequent implementation phase, the recommendations made to the Bundestag were followed up. In addition, in-depth talks were held with all parties with a view to seeing citizens’ assemblies anchored in the coalition agreement following the Bundestag elections in fall 2021. The overall aim of the project was to establish lot-based citizens’ assemblies in the institutional structure of the Federal Republic of Germany. The non-profit “Mehr Demokratie e.V.” and “Es geht LOS”, a think-and-do tank, were responsible for organizing the citizens’ assembly on Germany’s role in the world, which was being carried out by three participating institutes – IFOK, IPG, and Nexus. The citizens’ assembly were supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, GLS Treuhand, Stiftung Mercator, Open Society Foundations, Schöpflin Foundation, and ZEIT-Stiftung.