Placing citizens at the heart of the green and just transition: REAL DEAL Project

Global transition

Placing citizens at the heart of the green and just transition: new REAL DEAL Project on exploring meaningful participation for the European Green Deal

Brussels, June 17, 2022


The European Green Deal (EGD) cannot be successfully implemented and reach its goal of a climate-neutral continent by 2050 without the active engagement of all Europeans. For this reason, CAN Europe, European researchers in deliberative democracy and some of the largest European networks of civil society organisations have started the REAL DEAL project with the aim to provide more clarity and guidelines on how to further improve and enable  meaningful citizens’ participation and deliberation around the EGD. 

The REAL DEAL (Reshaping European Advances towards Green Leadership Through Deliberative Approaches and Learning) is a research project launched in February 2022, funded by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. Over the scope of three years, the REAL DEAL’s main objective is to analyse, test and validate innovative citizens’ participation and deliberation tools, formats and processes in the context of the green and just transition. Building on recent experiences of pan-European deliberation processes, the research will be centred around co-creation approaches and should contribute to improving access to participation, further enabling inclusion (especially of youth and marginalised groups). The project will also take into account gender aspects, as well as providing guidance on what is considered as meaningful participation in relation to the EGD and how to implement it. 

To this end, the research partners are already engaged in conducting an extensive literature review that will aid in laying out the conceptual foundations for the recommendations for enhanced participation and deliberative decision-making in the context of the EGD. Based on this, various methods, tools and formats for deliberation will be chosen for testing and validation both digitally, as well as on a national and local level across the 13 (thirteen) case countries in Europe (Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Serbia, North Macedonia and Ukraine).

In parallel, utilising the broad CSO networks that are part of the consortium, the partners have started to identify and mobilise a pan-European network of stakeholders, with more than 500 organisations working in the areas of deliberative democracy and climate action across Europe. The first meeting of this stakeholder network took place in Brussels (Belgium) on  the 9th-10th of June during the “Civil Society Forum for Sustainability: Shaping the European Green Deal” (CSO Forum).

Image: representatives of REAL DEAL partners at the kick-off meeting on 4th May 2022 in Brussels

This was the initial meeting of the CSO Forum, which will gather again in September and November to exchange views on the EGD. During the first meeting of the CSO Forum, the focus was on identifying the shortcomings and disconnections of the EGD from other relevant processes and deliberate on how to address these issues and strengthen the EGD. More information on the first CSO Forum can be found here


How to become a part of the REAL DEAL community?

The REAL DEAL is set to engage with citizens and other stakeholders by building a community of Europeans who promote participation and deliberation in the green and just transition. The digital hub where citizens can sign up to join the community, get involved and take action is: 

More about the partners:

To meet the ambitious objectives for its research and citizen outreach activities, REAL DEAL brings together 16 (sixteen) partners, including researchers of deliberative democracy  and Europe’s largest civil society organisations (CSOs). 


The full list of partners is:

  • Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) 

  • European Environmental Bureau (EEB) 

  • Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenible (ASviS) 

  • Association des Agences de Démocratie Locale (ALDA)

  • Central European University (CEU)

  • Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe)

  • Dialogik

  • European Movement International (EMI)

  • Global Climate Forum (GCF)

  • Nyt Europa


  • Technical  University of Berlin 

  • Trilateral Research 

  • Wageningen University & Research 

  • Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF)

  • Youth Environment Europe (YEE)

The project is jointly coordinated by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), a research organisation, and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a civil society organisation. 


Contact and additional information


For general inquiries on the REAL DEAL research project, please contact:

Ingeborg Niestroy, IASS:

Manuela Gervasi, EEB:


For any press-related inquiries, please contact:

Sebastián Rodríguez – European Movement International:

To receive all our press releases, sign up here: 


For inquiries on CAN Europe’s role in the project, please contact:

Kristina Naunova, CAN Europe: 

Laura Franceschin, CAN Europe (comms): 



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037071.


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