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Home arrow newsitems arrow MEPs Vote Key Parts of EF Project on Citizens-Politicians Dialogue Before Decisions. Skip Essentials

MEPs Vote Key Parts of EF Project on Citizens-Politicians Dialogue Before Decisions. Skip Essentials

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 07 July 2021

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- EU Parliament's Votes this week in Strasbourg, Surprizingly Endorsed Key Parts of "Eurofora" co-Founder's 1981/1997/2006/2018 Ideas on Our Project for EU Citizens - Politicians' Dialogue Before Decisions affecting their Lives and/or Society at large, ...Skiping, However, several Essential Points, at least as things stand Nowadays.

The move comes just 1 Month After We Officialy Registered that Project at EU's "Conference for the Future of Europe"'s Platform, on the 19th of June 2021, i.e. the Same Day of this landmark Conference's 1st "Plenary" Session in Strasbourg, (See: https://futureu.europa.eu/processes/Democracy/f/6/proposals/32770, and http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euroforaprojectpublishedateuconference.html, etc).

+ Shortly After that, at least the Basic Aspirations of European People, that "Eurofora"s Project notoriously seeks to Meet, were, in Addition, Backed, Also on June, by CoE's Assembly in Strasbourg, with the Adoption of a Different But Converging Resolution, (See at : ..., and Infra).

CoE took as Starting Point mainly Freedom of Medias and Information, while EU Parliament Focused More on Citizens, But Both, Naturaly, Eyed Nowadays' Need for such  a Key Transformation in Modern Democracies' Decision-Making Process.

Indeed, Both CoE's and EU's relevant Resolutions of June and July 2021 Clearly Back "Eurofora" Project's Main Ideas, all the way from the Initial, 1981, Analysis of its possible Legal Mecanism, (in a More than +1.000 Pages Research, chosen by Strasbourg's Faculty of Law for an Award normaly destinated to PhD Thesis, on a Written Proposal by Paris II University's Professor Paul Amselek, after having been also attributed a 18/20 "Tres Bien" verdict by a Jury here). This was Followed by a Relevant Collective Plan, at European Level, to Add Medias and Digital New Technologies, signed by a Group of European Journalists, Universitarians, etc., on 1997 and Coordinated by "Eurofora"s co-Founder, which was Officialy Admitted by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be Considered in the Framework of "ESPRIT" Program on Innovative Social Utilisations of New Communication Technologies, (Nick-Named, then : "EIW", for "Europe in the World"). Its Fully-fledged Public Presentation as a Project involving Medias, Citizens, and Debate at the Beginning of EU Institutions' Decision-Making Process, was Made by "Eurofora"'s co-Founder at a Key Press Conference with EU Paliament's and EU Commission's vice-Presidents competent for Medias, (Spanish University Professor Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, Top Christian-Democrat/EPP MEP, Founder of a New Party, and Swedish Margot Walstrom, Socialist future Foreign Minister), in Strasbourg on 2006, whose Positive Outcome Led in the Creation of the "Eurofora" specific Website, Immediately afterwards, from 2007. Finaly, Since 2018, "Eurofora"s Project Develops also a clearly Political Dimension, inter alia by Evoking that with  French President Emmanuel Macron, (See, f.ex., at : ..., etc), as well as in the Practical Framework of Strasbourg's EuroMetropol's Working Group on Citizens' Participation, leading to its Public Discussion and Formal Adoption with a Vote by a 2-Days-long Conference Organized on 2019 by Strasbourg's EuroMetropol, which Included that in its Official Report to the French Government in Paris, on the Occasion of the "Great Debate" Launched, then, by President Macron, (See, f.ex.: ..., etc). Meanwhile, "Eurofora" had Systematicaly Discussed that Project with All EU Parliament's Presidents, (including the Current : David Sassoli, see f.ex. in Brussels ..., and in Strasbourg ..., as well as the probably Forthcoming, Manfred Weber, f.ex. at ... + ..., etc), Added, Moreover, to Many and Various Other Top EU or CoE Senior Officers, the EU Ombudsman, competent Rapporteurs, key Experts, etc, (See relevant, Dated List, in a Note of Synthesis, in French).

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    Titled "Citizens' Dialogues and ...Participation in the EU Decision-Making", this Week's EU Parliament's Resolution was, in Principle, Welcomed, on Monday, by EU Commission's vice-President Dubravka Suica, competent for Democracy, with MEPs' Final Vote being casted on Wednesday, and Gathering a Large Majority of 537 Favorable Votes, Against 125, and 33 Abstentions.

    >>> Perhaps the Most Significant EU Parliament's Vote on that Resolution was to Firmly Maintain a landmark Call to "the Conference on the Future of Europe" (2021-2022+) in order to "ESTABLISH NEW, PERMANENT MECHANISMS for Citizens' Participation", (Instead of Limiting that Call Just to some, Unspecified "Effective Mechanisms", as an Opposed Amendment  had prefered, before being rejected by a Clear Majority of MEPs).

    - Starting by noting the Fact that in 2019 European Elections, EU Citizens took "an Increasing Interest in Developments at EU Level", since the "Turnout ...was 50,6% : The Highest Since 1994, and a Notable Increase from 2014, when turnout was 42,6%", Today's EU Parliament Resolution Adds, However, that "several EuroBarometer Surveys show that Citizens are Not Satisfied with the Way Democracy Works", Both "at EU level", and "Also at National Level", mainly Because "a Considerable proportion of EU Citizens do Not Feel Heard", (See, already : ..., etc).

    - But, (as "Eurofora"s co-Founder had Already Discussed with EU Ombudswoman O'Reilly, French President Macron, etc., Previously : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euombudsmanoneurofforaproject.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euombudsmandecisionandeuroforaproject.html , etc), Articles 10 and 11 of the TEU (alias "Lisbon Treaty"),  offer a "Basis for Citizens to Participate in the Making of EU Policies and Legislation", MEPs observe. In particular, Article 10(3) ... lays down that every Citizen shall have the Right to Participate in the Democratic Life of the Union, and that Decisions shall be Taken as Openly and as Closely as possible to the Citizen". And "Article 11(1) and (2)...", requires the Institutions to give ...Citizens .... the opportunity to make Kand publicly Exchange their Views in All areas of Union Action, and to maintain an open, transparent and regular Dialogue".

    + In Addition, "0ther means, namely the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), Complaints to the European Ombudsman and Petitions to Parliament, which are important Supplements to Parliamentarism, must be Strengthened", (See "Eurofora"'s Criticism and Efforts to help Overcome Bureaucratic Obstacles to the ECI from the outset, f.ex., inter alia, by Proposing, at least, a Parliamentary Debate on every succesful ECI, as We had Suggested to Rapporteur Lamassoure, and he had Accepted : ..., + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/debatesincitizensinitiatives.html, + ..., etc). In, at least, 1 case, EU "Parliament ...Overwhelmingly Supported" an ECI, "in December 2020, with 76% of the Votes cast". "Nevertheless, the Impact of ECIs is Low, Owing in part to the (EU) Commission's Lack of Follow-up", MEPs Denounce. Near to that point, "Eurofora" has Already Suggested, speaking to Key MEPs, that EU Parliament and Citizens Cooperate Together on ECIs, in a way which Might Give, in Practice, to MEPs a kind of Legislative Initiative, that, Until Now, they are the Only Parliament in the World to Lack... (See: ..., + ..., etc).

    - For the Rest, Citizens "Complaints to the European Ombudsman ...are Not Legally Binding", "Petitions" to EU Parliament are Not ensured to Settle Issues, and "On-Line public Consultations carried out by the (EU) Commission are mostly aimed at a Particular target Group, are Not Widely Disseminated, and are sometimes Too Brief", so that "they do Not Reach a significant proportion of the Population", and "the European Court of Auditors, ... in 2019, Recommended that the Commission should Improve the way it reaches out to Citizens, in order to Promote greater Participation". As for "Citizens’ Dialogues conducted by the (EU) Commission", in fact, they "are a way to provide Information to citizens, Rather Than to engage with them in a Debate about their Vision and what they would Like",  "and do Not provide a Feedback mechanism ... about the Outcomes of their participation", MEPs Criticized.

    => In Consequence, "the Current functioning of Existing Participatory Instruments, such as the ECI, public Consultations, and Citizens’ Dialogues (Comp. Supra), does Not provide Sufficient  means for Citizens to Influence EU Decision-Making", and "this is largely Due to the Lack of effective Follow-up in the Decision-Making process at Institutional level", (particularly by EU Commission). Therefore, "the Current Participatory Instruments do Not maximise the Potential of Citizens’ Participation", and "Insufficiently contribute to strengthening the Democratic Legitimacy of the EU", by "increasing Citizens’ sense of Ownership towards an EU that Reflects Their needs and Visions", EU Parliament Denounced. That's Why, "most (Existing) forms of Participation are  Rarely Used by individual Citizens", who "are largely Unaware of the Existing participatory instruments, and therefore UnderRepresented".

    >>> Thus, "Improving Citizens’ Participation  .... at EU level is Key to bringing the Union Closer to Citizens and ...Trust and Confidence in EU institutions, as well as achieving a real Multi-Level Democracy", with ...Public Debate on Any piece of Legislation", EU Parliament stressed,  Calling for  "Open, Transparent and Regular Dialogues with Citizens ....Ensuring that civil society can Participate actively in the Public Debate and has the capacity to Influence Policy and Decision-Making processes", where, in fact, "Citizens would like to be Included ... on a Regular Basis", (i.e. Heading towards "Eurofora" Project's Horizon).

    - In this regard, the current 2021-2022 EU "Conference on the Future of Europe should Involve as Much public Participation as possible", and offer "a Valuable Experience of Engaging with Citizens, in order to understand What they truly expect from the EU", MEPs urged, (Rightfully, But apparently Hard to achieve with the present Format that some Imposed on that landmark Conference, [See f.ex. : ... + ...,  + ..., etc] which, however, should Not become a Missed Opportunity, But, on the contrary, a unique Chance for Europe to seize asap)...

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    =>  For that purpose, EU Parliament's Resolution "stresses the Need to Reflect on How the Union can become More Effective in Engaging with Citizens".

    However, MEPs make it Clear that this should be done, Nowadays, Not by any kind of Direct Democracy, (as, f.ex., in Ancient Greek Civilisation's times), But while still  Remaining "under the Union's Core Principles of Representative Democracy". (I.e., in Practice, by Cooperating with EU Parliament, Commission, and Council, who should Keep the Responsibility of the Final Decision, as Politically Accountable to the People through Elections).

    - To achieve that aim, EU "Treaty Change should Not be Precluded, although it should Not be a Goal in itself", MEPS say, (almost Agreeing with what appeared, indeed, to be the Main Trend in the Debates during the 1st Plenary Session of the Conference for Europe's Future, last June 19, 2021, in Strasbourg, in this regard : Comp. Supra, and ..., etc).

    + But, a point of Key Political and Oractical Importance is the fact that "any Reform of the Union, in order to make it More Social, Equitable, Cohesive, United, Focused, Capable, Sovereign and Accountable, is Strengthened by Directly engaging with Citizens, through (Efficient)Participatory Mechanisms", since, Until Now, "there is an underlying Tension, between the vision of an EU Centred around Member States, and an EU centred around EU Institutions, which can be (Dialectically) Surpassed by Developing an approach and instruments for a European Union of Citizens", the adopted Resolution Interestingly incites. Indeed, EU Citizens Can Both Participate in EU Parliament's and EU Commission's as well as EU Council's Decision-Making processes, while Also Voting in the Elections which choose Their Representatives in All those concerned Institutions, (at EU and National levels)... European People are a Unique, Until Now "Silent", But Potentialy Effective, big Political Factor, who May exert a Coordinated and perhaps Decisive Pressure for an Overall Move on European Affairs. It still Remains to get a real Chance to be adequately Activated , Becoming Free to unlease its Huge Potential !

    >>> But, for doing so, "the Existing Participatory Instruments have various Shortcomings (Comp. Supra), and Should therefore be Improved", as well as, some "New ones Developed, to make citizens’ participation More Accessible, Inclusive, Meaningful and Effective", EU Parliament observes, on a Key Issue, on which MEPs Voted Massively to clearly Reject an Opposed Amendment, (Comp. Supra). In order, for such "New" Mechanisms, "to Facilitate public Participation in Wider political Debates, and equip citizens with the Opportunity to Influence political outcomes, with synergies in existing mechanisms, it is Imperative that citizen engagement is Structured in a way that Responds to Citizens’ Expectations", and, for that purpose, obviously make a Good Use of the Chance offered by the current Conference on Europe's Future (2021-2022), But Also well Beyond that, (given its Current practical Limitations, concerning mainly the Number and the Ways for about 500 Millions of EU Citizens to get Actively Involved and Heard : See, f.ex., inter alia, Also ...., etc).

    - At any case, once Again, MEPs ensure that "This Bottom-Up Participatory Agenda should Complement Representative Democracy in the EU", (and Not Replace it by any kind of Direct Democracy at all : Comp. Supra).                                                                 

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    => Concerning the various Practical, Concrete Mechanisms, through which, such an Important overall Political Aim Could be Achieved asap., EU Parliament Starts with the Necessary Reforms in the relevant Already Existing EU Instruments, (Comp. Supra) :

    -  In particular, on the ECI ("European Citizens' Initiative", introduced by Lisbon Treaty), it almost Endorses a strikingly Similar Version of a Key Proposal, whose Main Substance had Already been Presented by "Eurofora" much Earlier, including, in particular, during Discussions that We had in the Past with certain Top MEPs Involved in the Conference on Europe's Future, Based on a kind of unprecedented ...Cooperation between Citizens and MEPs :

    >>> In case of "Succesful" and Legal ECIs, the EU Parliament, (going Beyond the simple MEPs' "Debate" that "Eurofora" had succesfully Suggested, Initialy, when the Legal Regime of that Tool had been Prepared : Comp. Supra), Now Calls Also for "the adoption of a Parliamentary Resolution", "Each" Time, and Even for a "Legislative own-Initiative Report (INL)" by MEPs, When EU Commission has "Failed", "within the given (Time) Deadlines", "to Publish its Intentions", or said "that it Intends Not to take Action", (particularly withOut "Stating Sufficient Reasons for Why it did" so). In such cases, EU Parliament "Urges the (EU) Commission to Commit itself to submitting a Legislative Proposal", (if necessary, "Modifying the current framework Agreement between Parliament and Commission"), and "Asks that the ECI Regulation be Amended to Incentivise the (EU) Commission" to do so....

    In other words, to put it in a nutshell, EU Citizens can Cooperate with EU Parliament, by such and Even Wider Agreements on certain Concrete Issues, in a way which, Practicaly, might Give to MEPs, in fact, a Power of Legislative Initiative, that their Assembly is, perhaps, the Only one in the World to be still Deprived from ! Precisely, that was "Eurofora"s original Idea, Already Presented and Discussed with Top Key MEPs in the Recent Past, as, inter alia, f.ex., also with French MEP Pascal Durand, from the mainstream "Renew/Liberal" Group, (notoriously Supported by President Macron), and Representative at the Conference on Europe's Future, to whom We Presented such a Suggestion on "Citizens+MEPs' Alliance" for the ECI, as Early as Since Both on February and December 2020, during a Press Interview and a Video-Conference, where We were Invited by the "European Movement", respectively, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/mepdurandeuroforaonfutureconf.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/topmepdurandforefprojectineuconference.html, etc).

    + For the Rest, among Other "Existing" Participation Tools, Nowadays' EU Parliament's Resolution (5-7 July 2021), Moreover Asks to "Improve" EU "Commission's Public Consultations", in a way which would "Promote Greater Citizens' Participation, and to Better monitor and Assess their Contributions", as well as to "ReinForce and UpDate" the "current ... (EU) Citizens' Dialogues", (Comp. Supra).

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    => But, Interestingly, EU Parliament Advances much Further than that, by "underlying the Benefits of Engaging with Citizens and Civil Society" (i.e. NGOs) Also "in the Development of a European Public Sphere", (apparently, of a New Kind).

    This Reminds "Eurofora" co-Founder's Iniial Legal/Political Research, since the above-mentioned 1.000 Pages Strasbourg University Study of 1981 (Comp. Supra), that nearby Frankfurt University's World Famous Philosopher Jurgen Habermas, (currently living at Ober-Bayern, near the Alpes), had basicaly Inspired, for a Key Part, with his landmark "Struktur-Wandel der Öffentlichkeit" (Structural Changes in the Public Space) work, Added, Later, mutatis-mutandis, to the "Dialogue" between Habermas and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, (alias Professor and afterwards Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at nearby Tubingen University, then) : In Brief, to put it in a Nutshell, a recent Trend to Develop Public Debate in the Socio-Political Sphere, including in the Relations between Citizens and State Power, etc. I.e., exactly the Contrary of Kafka's famous Nightmare "the Castle", towards Spenser's Liberal "the Man versus the State"...

    - Naturally, once Again, MEPs ensure, in Nowaday's July 2021 Resolution, that this is in order tio "Complement the Democratic Legitimacy of the EU, (already) Provided by its Representative Institutions", (and Not to Replace or make any kind of Competition to them : Comp. Supra).

    >>> However, EU Parliament Clearly Voted, in this regard, for "the Establishment of New, Permanent Mechanisms, for Citizens' Participation", by Rejecting an Amendment which seeked to Limit it Just to some kind of (UnNamed, i.e. Possibly Old, simply Refurbished) Simply "Efficient Mechanisms", and No More... Indeed, MEPs stressed that they "Expect that the Conference on the Future of Europe will Bring an Important Contribution ... and Pave the Way" for "the Furher Development" of a kind of Novel Stage, by "providing an Opportunity to Discuss Possible Mechanisms for the Active Participation of Citizens in the Consultation Process, in order to Influence" EU Decisions.

    F.ex., they aim Even at ..."the Annual Work Programme ... and the State of Union Address" by "the (EU) Commission", with "a Mechanism (that) could wok on an Annual Basis, Starting in the First Months of each Year, with National and Regional Citizens Agoras, that should Prepare the Priorities to be discussed in a transnational European Citizens Agora, which could be Concluded on Europe Day" (i.e. on Each May)...

    + Other such Suggestions include "Citizens' Agoras" due to be, Eventualy,"Institutionalized" in "Future", "as a Permanent Mechanism of Citizen Participation in (also Various Other) Key Debates", according to the Adopted Resolution.

    ++ But, somewhat Closer to "Eurofora"s Project is a "proposal (for) the Introduction of Citizens' Participation Mechanism for Pilot Projects", in order, inter alia, Also "to EnAble Citizens to be Involved in the Co-Creation (sic !) of Policies, With EU Decision-Makers". as MEPs, quite Ambitiously, Claim...

    +++ However, EU Parliament goes as Far as to "underline the Importance of Fostering Civic Engagement and Active Participation", Even ..."at Local, Regional, National, and EU Level", All Together, "in a Coordinated ... way".

    >>> Most Important for "Eurofora" is MEPs' Wish for an "Expansion of Citizens' Dialogues", including with "a Permanent Mechanism for ...a formally Binding Follow-up Process", (which, for Our Project, could be Ensured, Simply by an adequate Implemention of certain Key Administrative Law Rules, Already widely present in Many EU Member States : F.ex., Public Administration's Obligation to Inform, Hear, and Reply to Citizens Affected by a forthcoming Decision, using Sufficient Motivation, with Real Facts and Legal Points, Aiming at an appropriate General Interest Target, on the basis of a Not Excessively Erroneous Discretionary Appreciation by the Competent Authority, all these Points being placed Under a possible Control by a Court of Justice, where Citizens may Lodge a Legal Complaint, if they Challenge the Legality of a Measure).

    - EU Parliament, Unfortunately, still remains quite Silent on such a Crucial Point, But, at least, it "encourages the Seting up of an Independent, Civil Society, Academic (i.e. including University Research), ...Forum in order to Monitor the (Decision-Making) Process, and its Follow-up by the EU Institutions". While clearly pointing at "the Importance of Academia, Researchers and Universities in the ...Know-how of Citizens about Participatory Mechanisms in the EU". + MEPs Also "Call for the Creation of a Standard for Open Government", (i.e. Transparency and Open Data"), at EU Level, which could serve as a Basis for Other Levels of Government". ++ More Important, as a matter of Principle, the Resolution "Highlights the Need to establish a Framework for the Follow-up to Citizens' Dialogues, in order to Take Citizens Input Effectively into Account", (i.e. Seeks an Adequate new EU Legal Tool). +++ In particular, it "Underlines that, at the End of the (Decision-Making) Process, its Outcome Must be Clearly Defined, so that it Can be Subject to an OBLIGATORY RESPONSE", which "provides Participants with a Written Feedback, on Each Proposal or Recommendation, in Clear Language, at the End of such Exercices, in which the EU Institutions Clarify their Intention to Implement that Proposal ..., Or Justify their Decision Not to do so", (Comp. "Eurofora"s Project, as Highlighted Supra). Indeed, "EU institutions must Commit themselves to Following up on their Outcome, in the light of their Competences and Legislative Procedures, since  Citizens’ Disappointment Often stems from a Lack of Follow-up", so that, "Otherwise", such "Dialogue tructures" face "a Risk of Disenfranchising Citizens". Also "Purpose, Rules and Timeframes of any Participatory Process Must be communicated (and)Effective; ... Otherwise, Failing to meet Expectations will Reduce (Citizens') Participation, and in turn (EU's) Legitimacy", MEPs Warned. That's why "it is Important that Citizens have a Clear understanding of engagement Outcomes, ... with Appropriate and Transparent Follow-up Procedures". "EU Institutions" should be "Attentive and Responsive to Citizens' Concerns", by "Gathering Input and Providing appropriate Follow-up, in the ensuing Decision-Making process, stress MEPs, "Call(ing) for Participatory Mechanisms to enable Citizens Participation to have a Meaningful Impact".

    Indeed, "Participatory Tools" are "a Good Response to the Democratic Deficit", (which "Results from a Perceived Lack of Agency, in EU Decision Making, by EU Citizens), the European Parliament stressed, as a matter of Principle.

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    => For that Purpose, "EU Participatory Democracy Requires supporting UnOrganized Citizens", (and Not Only NGOs), MEPs acknowledge Nowadays, eyeing some 500 Millions of European People, and stressing that "Participatory Mechanisms ...should Provide a means for Individuals to express their ideas and concerns". Indeed, "Eurofora"s Project is conceived on the Lines of an EU Citizen's Personal Rights vis a vis the EU Public Institutions, (and Not at all as any kind of Collective Group Lobbying.

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    - Concerning the Practical Context in which such a Dialogue between Citizens and EU Institutions should evolve, Before Decisions Affecting their Lives and/or Society at large, EU Parliament also Endorses "Eurofora"s Choices for the Important Potential of New "Digital" Technologies, (See, Mainly, Our 1997 Texts on EU's "ESPRIT" Programme : Comp. Supra), and "Multi-Lingual" Formats, (See, Mainly, "Eurofora"'s WebSite and MultiLingual Forum Project, Created on 2007, as well as, f.ex, http://www.eurofora.net/forum/index.php/topic,25.0.html and subsequent Relevant Interviews of Key EU Officials, etc.) :

    a) Indeed, on the 1st Point, EU Parliament "Calls" (in 2021) "on the (EU) Commission and the Member States to Develop accessible, innovative and inclusive Tools for Citizens’ Participation and Dialogues, making Better use of Digital Technologies to allow All Citizens ... to Play an Effective part in EU Decision-Making, building (even) on the Lessons from the way the COVID-19 Pandemic has acted as an Accelerator for the use of Digital tools".

    Indeed, Today's Resolution "Underlines the Potential of New Technologies which can provide New Avenues to Engage with Citizens, to ensure an Effective Bottom-Up approach, and improve the capacity of citizens to Hold (EU) Institutions Accountable".

    In particular, MEPs ask for "a Non-Bureaucratic and Comprehensive (EU) WebSite providing citizens with information about All European Participatory Initiatives",  "Stressing" that "such Innovatie Tools should ...Support Representative Democracy" too (Comp. Supra), "and ...Transparency at all levels".

    However, they also "stress that Digital Technologies should be a Complement to Face-to-face participation instruments, and ... especially ...Encourage participation among Populations that have Difficulties ... in Traditional ...Instruments", (Including  "People with Disabilities", and/or "Living in Rural or Less-Populated Areas", etc).

    + Moreover, MEPs "See Further Opportunities that Digitalisation Offers for Citizens to Participate more Quickly, Widely, and Inclusively in (EU's) Decision-Making", particularly After "the COVID-19 Pandemic has Encouraged the use of Digital Media and OnLine Conference systems", (Added to former or current German, Italian, Scandinavian, or Czech "Pirate"-like Political Parties' input, as well as Estonia's and/or Other Countries' Boost on Digital Electoral Voting and Other Relevant Innovative Developments). Among Many Others, See also, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eupiratepartyseipenbuschworlddemocracyforum.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/edemocracyandcitizenparticipation.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coefornewjournalismindigitalera.html, etc.

    Even "European Commission Representations and European Parliament Liaison Offices (EPLOs) in the Member States should ...Facilitate ... direct Dialogue with Citizens, ... through broad and well-coordinated use of Communication Tools for the Digital and Physical Participation", the Resolution says.

    "Eurofora"s Wider View is that New Digital Technologies might Even offer a Chance to evenually, more or less Revive at least some Key Utilisations, Nowadays, of the Historic Ancient Greek Civilisation's "Direct Democracy" by Citizens' collective Decicions, in one or another way, totaly or partialy, sooner or later.

    However, Nowaday's EU Parliament's Resolution focused, rather, on Digital Tech.'s Potential also on Pacticaly Heling Solve a Particular Practical Issue in European Debates, which is to Considerably Facilitate "Multi-Linguism", (anOther Key "Eurofora" Project's Tool) :

    

    b) Indeed, EU Parliament on 2021 (as "Eurofora" since, at least 2007), "Believes that (European People's) Participation could be Enhanced by ensuring ... Multi-Lingual Processes, and tools of Consultation".

    => Therefore, MEPs consider that "the EU Should Promote New and Innovative Ways for Citizens' Participation, Enabling the use of Digital Technology Tools, that Facilitate Multi-Lingual Dialogue with Ciizens". There, "Documents Should be Published in All EU Official Languages", and "Citizens' Dialogues should use a Single, MultiLingual OnLine Platform".     

    - "For (EU) Ccitizens to be actively Engaged, the availability and accessibility of Information in their Mother Tongue is of the utmost Importance", Because Language Barriers Limit Citizens’ engagement and Participation in the Political process". So that, since "Technology ... can Help to Overcome these Language Barriers", MEPs "Ask that the EU Institutions make Use of Them".

    Already several Years Earlier, "Eurofora" has Extensively Evoked, in particular, the "On-Line Automatic Translations' New Technologies, in a "Multi-Lingual Internet", at the service of EU Citizens-Politicians Debates Before Decisions Affecting them, and Discussed that Fast-Evolving Issue with UNESCO's Director General, until "PanEuropa" International Secretary General, as well as various Competent EU Commissioners, Key Top CoE's PanEuropean Officers, etc., in several relevant Publications, (See, f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unescobokovainternetautomatictranslation.html, http://www.eurofora.net/forum/index.php/board,17.0.html, etc).

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+ DIVERGING POINTS :

    >>> But, this Resolution, Drafted by a Leftist German MEP, Son of a former DDR Politician and himself former DDR Diplomatic Staff, which, Curiously, wasN't "Discussed" in EU Parliamen's Plenary but Only "Briefly", between just himself and EU Commissioner Suica, during ... Ten (10) Minutes (sic !), Also Bears the Marks of several Controversial Points, InCompatible with "Eurofora" Project's main approach, that we find more or less Doubtful, Controversial, Criticable and/or Even UnAceptable...

    - 1) First of all, among Various Others such Negative Points, is also the Crucial Issue of the EU Institutions' concrete Obligations vis a vis EU Citizens, during such kind of "Participation" or "Dialogue" :

    - What Exactly are these Obligations ? Who Controls their Realisation, or not ? How Citizens can Ensure their Implementation ? (Etc)...

    - In the case of "Eurofora"s Project, this Key Point is Crystal Clear (Comp. Supra) : There is a Substantial List of Public Administration's concrete Obligations vis a vis Citizens, in such a "Dialogue" Procedure; they Can be Controled by a Judge ; Citizens may Lodge a Legal Complaint ; And a Public Measure Decided via an Irregular Procedure Risks to be Cancelled by a Court.

    - But, on the Contrary, in this (apparently Too Hasty) MEPs' Report, almost Nothing seems Clear, Except from a Unique and Vague Mention of a kind of "Reply" due to be Given to the concerned Ciizens by the competent Public Adinistration... What Exactly should be its Content ? How Citizens Could Oblige a recalcitrant Administration to do so ? Who Checks such Conflictual Matters ? What eventual Sanctions might, perhaps, be pronounced ? Nobody Knows !... (Comp. Supra).

    - 2) Second Controversial Point : Which Citizens have the Right to "Participate" and "Engage" in "Dialogue" with the competent Public Administration, in a concrete case ?

    - For "Eurofora"s Project, again, it's Crystal Clear : Every EU Citizen who is Affected, by a forthcoming Public Decision, either Directly, in his/her own Life, or by the Consequences of a Change to the Society at large, in which he is living.

    - But, on the Contrary, for that Hasty MEP's Report, there are Many UnCertainties, Question Marks, or Even Controversial if not UnAcceptable Points ! F.ex., Among Others :

- Initialy, there were a Lot of References to "Young People", in General, Concerning almost ...All Kinds of EU Issues. It's Only Thanks to the Adoption of a Critical Amendment, that, at the Last Minute, the Scope was Focused on EU's "Youth Policy" Only, (as it's Normal for Youngsters).

+ Moreover, there are, Also, Vague Mentions of "Medias", "Journalists", and ...Even "Artists" (sic !), as well as ..."Children" (re-sic !!). This can be considered as InAppropriate for a Serious Citizens - Politicians' Dialogue in EU's Decision-Making Process.

++ Moreover, that Leftist MEP's Report Insists that it's Not Only EU Citizens, But Even Any Non-European Foreigners, Simple "Residents", who should have a Full Say in such "Dialogues" with EU Authorities. In such a case, then, obviously, this is No more a Privilege of EU Citizenship, and it has Nothing to do with that. But, such a Conclusion would Probably Provoke Controversy... Among others, it's even the Core Idea of Political "Accountability" of EU Authorities (Comp. Supra) which Risks to Suffer, at least as far as it's Based on Democratic Elections... (where Participation Requires EU Citizenship).

+++ Surprizingly, tha Hasty Resolution, even speaks about a so-called ..."SELECTION [sic !] of Participants" (Among Citizens), which "should ensure a ...balanced REPRESENTATION [re-sic !!] of the Population, ... so that ...Diversity is fully respected"... In Other Words, this Obviously Means that there are Not All Affected Citizens who Could Participate to such Dialogues with EU Authorities, But Only a Few among them, "Chosen" by God Only Knows what Kind of "Experts", in order to be "Representative" (Again !) of the Real Population... I.e., to the Representation by Transparent, Democratic Elections' Votes, is Substituted a so-called "Representativity" through some Obscure Technocrats' Calculations, so that the Real People are Still Kept Far Away, Even More than Before... No, this is Not "Eurofora"s conception of Citizens' Dialogue with EU Politicians Before Decisions Affecting their Lives or Society at large ! For us, it's a Human and Democratic Right of Every EU Citizen facing an imminent Measure by a Public Authority.

------------------------------------------

+++ Last, bt not least : This is a Serious Matter, concerning the Modern Democratic Structure of the Society in which we live, as well as the capacity for each Citizen to Defend his elementary Rights and Personal Freedom. In Consequence, we can Hardly  Follow MEP Scholz's Claim that "Youth Engagement Tools (should) be Promoted, with a Special Focus on ...Mobile Games (sic !), or Quizzes" (re-sic !!)... Such Attitudes (added to Calls even for "Children" to engage, "Artists", etc. : Comp. Supra), are simply Out of Tune...

 

 

(.../...)


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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".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        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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