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Citizen Consultation on Europe

March 21st, 2009 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Across the EU this weekend groups of citizens are debating the question ‘What do you think the EU can – and should – do to shape our economic and social future in a globalised world?’ In Dublin Castle 50 independently selected Irish Citizens are debating questions set by facilitators and using ‘deliberative polling’ to come to conclusions. These conclusions will be put to MEP’s tomorrow and also taken to an summit of citizens taking place in Brussels in May.

The Irish consultation is organised by the National Forum on Europe and funded by a number of private foundations and the European Commission and you can watch it all online on RTE Live.

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4 Comments so far

  • SeanR

    You mean the Senators are actually having to do something today then? LOL! While this is welcome,and offering more participation than this govt affords its people, the EU has to do a lot more to be both democratically accountable and ‘explain’ what it actually does to the ordinary people of Europe. But timing this forum on the day most of the country is watching the six nations, hmm, something’s off there…

  • Eurocentric

    This is good, but it shows how much such debate has to be fostered. It’s very hard to have the debate that SeanR is talking about since only the constitutional questions are ever given any media time (and sometimes not much time), while issues decided on by the European Parliament aren’t mentioned. In Ireland we’ve a generally good media who examine goings-on in the Dáil, etc. Why can’t this be applied to European politics?

    On top of this, any debate with non-Irish Europeans is blocked by our parties as “outside interference”, and any information campaign is labeled “propaganda”. Well, how can there be a debate if we refuse to debate the validity of the “official line” and any alternatives? If nobody debated government initiatives, the Irish government would be similarly reduced to busing in random citizens for consultations.

    And apart from this is the fact that the EU is very much still an intergovernmental organization. To increase democracy at the EU level necessarily entails a weakening of member state power, and a strengthening of democratic involvement in decision-making. Unfortunately neither the member states have so far faced up to the need to do this (only reforming when completely necessary – 5 treaties in 20 years shows how little is changed each time; each time not enough is done), and opponents have not tackled this main issue effectively either.

  • Lefournier

    Let’s see what comes out of this. At least someone is asking people who seem to be genuine i.e. not proxies for parties / groups. RTE might draw inspiration for replacing Q&A.

    Coverage finished at 5.15. so it didn’t clash with the 6 Nations kickoff.

  • Linda_Margaret

    It’s always scared me a bit that the EU is able to do so much with so little “citizen knowledge” at the “European citizen” level. Nice that they are trying to close the gap, but the measure still seems more show than substance. We shall see…