Eurodemocracy and E-democracy

Nosemonkey suggests that the cross-European effort to make data on the CAP’s beneficiaries available might be an example of how a European demos could function. There’s more detail at Martin Stabe’s, and the searchable database is at Farmsubsidy.org.

I’m quite keen on this. Not so much because I’m sympathetic to the whole “lacking a European demos” debate – personally, I think it’s over-schematic and essentially useless – but because it’s an opening for a different kind of debate. Look at national demoses (I invite any classicists on board to correct this backformation) – do you really want another, bigger one? Even at the European national level, it’s a scene of highly formalised, big-media dominated, fact-light jousting. Look at the nearest ones in scale to a putative Euro-democracy: the US, with its sterile two-party dynamic and addiction to campaign funding, China and Russia (nuff said), India, with epic fractionalisation, corruption, and sporadic violence. Urgh.

But something like this, or for that matter MySociety’s various projects in the UK, offers the possibility of a more fact-driven debate, a reduced reliance on political parties, and greater oversight of the grey zone where the EU institutions and nonofficial bodies like the various cross-European business and labour groups and standardisation conferences intersect.

After all, why should (as Andrew Grice of the Independent suggested yesterday) the Liberal Democrats complain that other parties are stealing their ideas and putting them – gasp! – into practice. Only if you insist on the party as a tribe and a vehicle for self-advancement should this matter. A highly anti-liberal view, in my opinion.

Fine Brussels-based blog Kosmopolit is heading in the same direction, with a critique of Ségoléne Royal and referendums.

3 thoughts on “Eurodemocracy and E-democracy

  1. I’m not a classicist, but the OED gives the plural as —i, so that would be ‘demi’. Which is, umm, very opaque if you don’t know Greek.

  2. I concur, something like the website of “theyworkforyou” should definitively be created for the EP.

    In that sense the proposal from Germany to negotiate the future treaty behind close doors with no public debates is at the opposite of this E-trend. If we want to create a “citizen friendly EU”, the citizens have to be at the centre of it and not be excluded.

  3. Surely the OED must have meant ‘demoi’ for plural? (I learnt ancient Greek in secondary school, does that make me a classicist?)

    Will read the Kosmopolit piece saying referenda are bad, then come back with a refutement. Or perhaps not – rather busy these days.

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