SAPIA (Students’ Awareness of Public Integrity and Accountability in the European Union) projects to use action-based teaching methods to enhance students’ awareness and involvement as regards EU public integrity and accountability (PIA) mechanisms. Against the backdrop to the “systemic legitimacy” theoretical framework, the EU might counter its current existential crisis through strengthening its citizens’ trust in well-functioning public institutions and policy mechanisms. To this end, however, it is imperative to reinforce students’ critical analysis skills, because the growing resort to information technologies and social media for facts reporting among young students increases citizens’ vulnerability to misinformation, thus jeopardizing a fair appraisal of EU performance in PIA.
SAPIA presents a combination of varying activities aimed at raising students’ awareness of the EU mechanisms of public accountability. Beyond a mere focus on understanding the checks and balances of the system, the purpose is to strengthen students’ critical thinking skills, and to contribute to a better informed citizenship. Engaging HE students into fact-based analysis, independent reflection, fair assessment of public institutions, and responsible reporting of research outputs seems pivotal so as to redress students’ traditional passivity and indifference towards EU politics.
SAPIA proposes mainstreaming on-going teaching activities at undergraduate and graduate level around the topic of PIA, that would link to reach-out activities (such as workshops and training sessions) and research events. Taken altogether, the proposed set of activities would help creating a hub for understanding, analysing, and raising awareness on the EU public integrity and accountability mechanisms.