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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission vice-President Sefcovic to EuroFora: Citizens Initiative to revitalize Decision making

EU Commission vice-President Sefcovic to EuroFora: Citizens Initiative to revitalize Decision making

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Particularly after EU Parliament adopted, today, a brand new procedure for Public Hearings by the competent Committees on EU Citizens' Initiatives, the recent entry into force of this big innovation of EU Lisbon Treaty could bring Changes able to revitalize the EU Decision making process, replied in substance EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic to "EuroFora's questions, welcoming the move, during and after a Press Conference organized by the prestigious French High-level Civil Servants' School of State and EU Governance "ENA", together with Strasbourg University and the German Federal School on Administrative Science from nearby Karlsrhue, gathered together in a grouping for "Public Administration in Europe" (PEAP), headed by the experienced long-time Manager of several Key, Big Public and Private Entities, Dr. Weber, invited in EU Parliament by mainstream ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxelo.

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    - "EuroFora" observed that, "by a coincidence, today EU Parliament has just adopted an Essential Innovation in the New EU Mechanism of EU "Citizens' Initiative, as agreed with EU Commission, consisting in a possibility to add also a Public Hearing", of representatives of the People involved, "by an EU Parliament's Committee",  as it had been initially suggested by "EuroFora", particularly in an INTW with EU Rapporteur on Citizens' Rights, former Minister and current Budgets Commitee's Chairman, French ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP, Alain Lamassoure, and already discussed earlier with EU Commission's vice-President Maros Sefcovic himself (Comp, f.ex., our Questions and Replies received at a previous, key Press Conference : See : therelevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport : ... ). + -"Do you think that it would be useful if Top European Governance Education bodies or Universities, as f.ex. the ENA, etc. were associated, in one way or another, to these new type of Hearings, which are due to become more and more Frequent, and eventually to hold most of them during EU Parliament's Plenary sesssions in Strasbourg ?", we suggested in addition..                                                          

- "Thank you for that Question, because EU Citizens Initiatives are something New which, I believe, can bring a Civic mobilization , but also Democratic movements, while we see, around us, also what can be done by mobilizing Citizens f.ex. through Social Media and can be actively motivated by the issues of Internet Liberty", started to reply to "EuroFora"s question Sefcovic, from a wider point of view.


=> "I think that all that is a proof that EU Citizens should be included in the Debates of Important Political Decisions from the start of Negotiations, as well as that we (EU) must better Explain our Policies, not only by the classical means, but also by using f.ex. Social Media (at the Internet), etc", EU Commission's vice-President went on to add, almost endorsing a main Idea suggested many times earlier by "EuroFora".

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    + "That's why I believe that EU Citizens' Initiative will Democratize the traditional way of Decision-making in Europe, and that New Level of Participative Democracy will ameliorate the way that the Representative Democracy works", he optimistically pointed out.


    => "I'm sure that, when we shall revise this new tool, in 2 or 3 Years, we shall need some Serious Studies, with profound Expertise on this issue, that f.ex. ENA, the Universites and other participants in the PEAP, as well as several other similar actors, will certainly have studied carefully", having a very useful role to play, Sefcovic positively reacted to a part of "EuroFora"s suggestion (Comp. supra).


    For the time being, "as you know, we (EU Commission) have already registed 6 or 7 such EU Citizens' Initiatives, up to now, and we have received more than 10. So, this has really started, and we shall see how it will evolve during the following years", he noted.

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+ Meanwhile, "I am  glad of the Agreement that we (EU Commission) made with EU Parliament on these Hearings by MEPs, because, even if the competent EU Commissioner, or his assistants, will Receive beforehand the organizers of such EU Citizens' Initiatives, nevertheless, it is important that they can be heard also by a collective, politically pluralist body destinated to work regularly with EU Citizens as the EU Parliament, observed later-on EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic, speaking anew to "EuroFora" after the Press Conference.
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- The Questions raised are, in susbtance, whether the way that EU Citizens' Initiatives might develop in Future, could affect the way that European Governance and public administrations, Civil Servants, etc., are actually working, observed earlier on "EuroFora"s question also PEAP's President Dr. Weber, who underlined previously the relevant fact that PEAP's object of study and research is "the Public Administration which works at the interface between Political Decisions and Citizens".

+ Meanwhile, it's significant of progressively developing EU Integration that even ENA itself is evolving into a  MultiNational, European Governance School, with French, German, Spanish and other EU Countries components, observed mainstream MEP Ayxelo of Spain.                                                                 

 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full  Final Version is due asap).

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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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