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Accueil 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

Ecrit par 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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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

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        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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