IRI is a transnational think-tank that provides news, analysis, facts and comment on all aspects of the initiative and referendum (I&R) process, one of the most powerful political trends in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century.
Most national constitutions of today do provide some basic I&R opportunities. But far too often, these instruments are designed in such a way that they literally cannot be used by the citizens at all.
Dedicated to research and education on the procedures and practices of modern direct democracy, IRI Europe, which was founded in 2001, aims to promote direct democracy in the form of initiatives and referendums.
With its headquarters in Marburg-Germany, IRI Europe, which also has offices in Brussels, Belgium and Bülach, Switzerland, strives to bring together top experts and practitioners of the initiative and referendum process across Europe and the world and creates comprehensive reference guides as part of the citizen lawmaker series of educational tools.
Its purpose – to encourage interested citizens and provide professional advice to decision-makers involved in the process of institutional change.
In its Initiative for Europe handbook 2008, IRI Europe offers advice, ideas and assessments on how this direct democracy process can be legally established and fine-tuned to serve the common goal of a democratic European Union.
In an article written for The Telegraph back in 2007, Bruno Kaufmann, the President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe clearly states: ‘Parts of the country (in this case Switzerland) where the people are most involved in politics have better public services and stronger economies.’
In fact, a recent study conducted by the German-based Bertelsmann Foundation has ranked Switzerland in unchallenged first place (out of 41 countries within the OECD and/or the EU) for its political participation rights. Incidentally, the study ranks Switzerland first worldwide in terms of its people’s direct democratic rights.
And that is what we should strive to do for the entire European Union and the world. Create a mode of decision-making that hinders the development of the tyranny of the majority and leads to a high level of satisfaction, creating strong citizen identification with the political system.
IRI is the top global direct democracy resource today. Bruno Kaufmann advocates for direct democracy around the world much like Citizens In Charge does for the states. RIPAC’s vision is not just for the U.S.A. but also for the world. One day, global direct democracy partners may work together and bring the most advanced solutions that will benefit us all to fruition.