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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Head Varvitsiotis+Stanford Prof Ober on Democracy Post-Virus: Future near EF Project on Dialogue

CoE Head Varvitsiotis+Stanford Prof Ober on Democracy Post-Virus: Future near EF Project on Dialogue

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 16 September 2020

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Nowadays, not only "the COVID Crisis is Not Over Yet", But, on the Contrary, "a 2nd Wave has Hit Europe, and Everybody feels Distressed about How to Deal with this Virus Pandemics, and How the Democratic Institutions are going to Respond at this, Longer than Predicted, Standing Challenge", stressed from the outset CoE's Chairman-in-office, Greek Minister for European Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, (an Experienced former Long-Time CoE Assembly's Top MEP, Elected vice-President of its Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Introducing an Interview of Stanford University Professor Josiah Ober, about the Historic InSights that can Bring a Timely Comparison Between the Plague which Killed Many People during the Ancient Greek Democracy of Athens, 2,5 Thousand Years Ago, and the Contemporary, 2020 Deadly Virus' Crisis.

In this regard, the current CoE's Greek Presidency (5-11/2020) plans to Culminate, on November 2020, with an Official Declaration of the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries-strong Organisation of Strasbourg, on the situation of Human Rights and Democracy in Times of Pandemics, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/greekcoepresidency2020.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeleadersonhumanrightsandvirus.html, etc).  

I.e. an Obviously, more and more Topical Issue, of Growing Importance, as, it appears, inter alia, Also by Various Relevant Protest Popular Movements and/or Demonstrations, Including, f.ex., those in Germany, from Berlin to Munich, etc., (Even with the Active Participation of RF. Kennedy, Son of Murdered USA Justice Secretary and Pesidential Candidate Robert Kennedy, and Nephew of also Murdered US President John Kennedy : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/kennedyjrinberlinonvirusandweb.html, etc), which, in Fact, Extended much Further than Controversies on Virus' Policy alone, Raising, More Widely, various Interesting Issues on Democracy and Human Rights Nowadays and in the foreseable Future.

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Going well Beyond Erzats (and Potentialy Anti-Democratic, Oppressive) Banalities Against so-called "Populism" or "Conspirationism", and so on, Vaguely "Copied and Pasted" by an Establishment Medias' youngster cosy employee, it's the Main Conclusions of Josiah Ober which seem to be really Interesting, Surprizingly appearing to Back "Eurofora" co-Founder's long-time Project and Legal Research on Dialogue with Citizens during Public Decision-Making.  

Among others, 3 Main Points :

(A) Despite some Hard Apperances, in Fact, [then Direct] Democracy is more Resilient than it seems : F.ex., it Continued to Function in Athens, Even during the Plague, and the Peloponesian War, against Sparta. (Plague killed 1 out of 4 Athenian People, even Popular Leader Pericles Died at its 2nd Year, But a Decline came Only 25 Years Later, i.e. Long After that Plague, so, it could be, probably, due also to Other Factors). Meanwhile, inter alia, Moreover, Socrates' Philosophy (NDLR : with his Famous "Dialogues", etc), Followed by Platon, etc., was being Developed...

(B) "Collective Self-Government by the People" is Not Automatically, Neither Fully Identical to "Liberal Democracy"'s conception Based on "Rights and Justice". => In Consequence, a (ReNegotiable) Bargain is Needed. (I.e., something apparently, Near "Eurofora" CoFounder's Legal Research about Law being, in Substance, the "Crystalisation of a Provisional Compromise, Based on a Balance Between Different Socio-Political Forces").

(C) In Future : "Hope" for "Inventing" a "New Form", Based, Mainly, on "Humanity"'s Unique Capacity to Reasonably Communicate (= "Talk to each-other", i.e. almost as "Eurofora" Co-Founder's Project and Legal Research on "Dialogue with Citizens in Public Decision-Making", as Socrates' famous "Dialectics") ?

-----

+ Almost TEXTO (the Main Concluding Point, of Josiah Ober) :


 - "The Next Generation Needs to Think about How to ReFormulate the Civic Bargain", (Comp. "Eurofora" Co-Founder's : "Crystalisation of a Provisional Compromise Based on a Balance of Forces"). i.e. the Bargain that Citizens make among them, Deciding How Much Self Goverment, How Much Social Justice,) How much the Rich or the Non-Rich might Receive, etc. It "Needs to be Stable enough", But "Can be ReNegociated OverTime". With "Stability and Flexibility". At the Heart of such a "Democracy" lies = "Making an Agreement, Basicaly a Bargain. Not to Get Everything, but Each gets More than he had. Not All or Nothing". (Comp. Supra).

=> Journalist's Question : - "What gives you Optimism for the Future ?"


>>> Ober's Final Reply : "Humans are Cooperative Creatures ! Compared to Other Primates (f.ex. Chimpajies, Gorillas, etc), it's Amazing how Able We are for Cooperation, at Large Scale, and Over Time". (NDLR : However, Only that, Obviously does Not Go much Further than ... the Ants, which are also very Good in Collective Cooperation, as anyone who has Observed their amazing Activities can Find).

+ "We (Humans) are, Also, Capable of REASON, ... and we have this Remarcable Capacity for COMMUNICATION. ... We Can SPEAK TO EACH-OTHER !" (NDLR : i.e. Hold a Dialogue).

=> "And, With Sociability (i.e. Cooperation), With Capacity to Reason, with this Remarkable Capacity to Communicate, We (Humans) Can do absolutely Amazing things".

>>> "...That's, Basically, ARISTOTES' Conception of Politics... I think Aristotes' was Right !".

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

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    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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