[pp.int.general] PPI platform for EU Election 2009
r.bakels at planet.nl
Fri Jan 2 13:36:24 CET 2009
> That's a false dichotomy introduced by the EU bodies, /this one or
> nothing/. No way, I prefer /option C/ -different process to make it,
Oh yes, I am (also) pro-Europe and against its democratic deficit.
> more usable, different contents in some issues, etc ... and of course,
> having people ratifying it, like we in Spain 1978's Constitution was
> ratified by *60 % of eligible voters* (not of cast votes, but of eligible
> voters; and also with the /YES/ winning in all districts); there are
> majorities and majorities, depending on their legitimacy, and 60 % of
> eligible voters is indeed a legitimate majority-.
Referenda about the EU Constitution/Lisbon treaty are not obvious. There are
imho several reasons to be opposed against referenda:
* Referenda only work for relatively simple issues - that can be answered by
YES or NO. The Swiss who have a long tradition of referenda demonstrate a
proper use of this mechanism. But the European Constitution/Lisbon treaty is
too complex for the average citizen. No politician will ever admit this, but
I as a lawyer am ready to admit that it is an utterlijk complicated thing.
People - in particular in countries that do not have a strong constitutional
tradition such as NL - are likely to believe that it is either nothing or
"Lisbon" - while actually the issue is to replace the Nice treaty. As long
as the EU exists, it needs a couple of rules for its ow organisation. Given
such confusion, politicians can only guess why the treaty failed and what
should be changed.
* Professional polticians are bypassed by referenda, but they do have a
role. Firsly, politicans have the task to make *consistent* policy, while
referenda naturally are single issue only. To give a simple example:
everybody would like the taxes to be lowered while government spending is
* Another role of politicians is to debate. Admittedly the EU Parliament
does not have a strong tradition in this field. But politicians can
articulate arguments and reasons.
> We in PIRATA also believe in liquid democracy -an issue dealt with in the
> Berlin Conference-, so such issue -consulting people to know what the
> society wants, thus, having the State branches doing it- is not only
> related to left-winged or right-winged parties.
Frankly I believe that "liquid democracy" is pretty utopical. And state
reform is a very complicated issue by itself. I am not sure whether PP
should divert its attention to this realm. In NL, the progressive liberals
D66 were founded with the explicit purpose to further such reforms, but the
political support is disappointing. Now the issue has been embraced by
populists, who argue that the government *TOTALLY* ignores "ordinary"
people. They are prepared to distort the truth in order to prove their
point, e.g. by frightening people about the alleged threat of "islamisation"
(in my perception, all interference between religion and politics is
dangerous - Christian Democrats obscure the real political issues in many
I believe that political decision making is inherently slow - and
disappointing to some people - because the essence of politics is to resolve
controversies. And perhaps it even slows down (in NL at least) because there
are lots of floating voters, and the support even of established major
political parties varies enormously over time (according to opinion polls) -
so politicians are desparately looking for ways to stabilise - Incidentally,
the present financial crisis was a blessing in disguise for (some of) our
politicians, because it allowed the to ct swiftly.
>> In my perception, "pirate" are intelletuals with naturally an
>> international orientation.
> Sure. However, as I said before, it doesn't imply that we have to accept
> this Lisboa Treaty in particular, why? If EU citizens agree on the need of
> having a common /Carta Magna/, let's gonna have one ... though not that
> one -and specially not, if to be passed needs such an embarrasing show
> like some Member States menacing others (i.e., Ireland), and those and
> others avoiding to consult people (just to avoid getting a /NO/ as the
> answer to the Treaty, as the Irish answer and as the French & Dutch answer
> for NIce Treaty ... a Treaty which was not nice)-.
I agree, the fight over "Lisbon" is disgusting. But if the question is asked
what should be improved, there is no unanimous answer. Well, "more
democracy" is an obvious argument, but - on paper(!) - Lisbon improves
democracy, e.g. by strengthening the role of national parliaments. On oher
topics, there is ore difference of opinions. For instance, some people feel
that Europe (if democracy works properly!) should be strengthened, while
others believe that "Europe" should be minimized.
In my opinion, a major problem is the communication. The EU is hardly
visible at all. Few news programs on television spend attention to Brussels
and Strasbourg: it is still mostly national politics. European elections
effectively are national elections. For NL for instance, EU elections may
show that our socialist (national!) minister of finance has gained a lot of
popularity because he reacted very well to the present financial crisis.
So, if anything, the PP should inform inform inform inform inform inform
inform inform inform inform inform inform people!
More information about the pp.international.general