The European elections will be held from May 23 to 26 … let’s say tomorrow !
Beyond the social demand of its beginning, the Yellow Vests movement in France has raised many questions about the capacity of our democracies to meet the expectations of our fellow citizens.
And we will probably agree together that these questions are even stronger when we escalate them to the level of the European Union, perceived rightly or wrongly as “bureaucratic” (a French word that has flourished in all languages) and far away.
In the era of social networks, and except to accept the furious claim of a direct and instant democracy, we must of course preserve representative democracy. This is why these European elections are so important.
But it must certainly be completed by a framed deliberative democracy. Because if the exit of the crisis will come through a recovered legitimacy to the vote, it will also have to find an expression and a participation between two votes.
This is the meaning of the Grand Débat National launched by President Macron in France.
At the European level, and in a more “digital” form, a parallel initiative has been launched by two organizations :
- the first, Civico Europa, is an non-profit association, independent and transnational, whose “promise” is to allow the EU to reappropriate the European project,
- the second, Make.org, is a citizen platform whose mission is to engage citizens and civil society in the positive transformation of society.
Their initiative is called We Europeans, and defines itself as a “civic and non-partisan campaign of mobilization and reappropriation of the European project by the citizens of all the countries of the Union. European “.
The chosen form is very “CivicTech” (abbreviation of civic technology, or civic technology). This word refers to the use of technology in order to strengthen the democratic link between citizens and the government. This includes any technology that increases the power of citizens in political life, but also makes the government more accessible, efficient and effective.
Every European will have the opportunity to participate by answering the question “How to reinvent Europe concretely ?”, then voting for the proposals he / she deems most relevant. Simultaneous popular consultations will take place in each European country, then a vote of all European citizens will be organized on the most appreciated proposals of the first stage.
On March 22, 2019, at the end of this consultation, the proposals supported by all Europeans will be presented in the European Parliament in the form of a Citizen Agenda at a Congress of Europeans. Political leaders, all candidates in the European elections and heads of state and government will be invited to respond to the common concerns of their fellow citizens.
Yascha Mounk, recently said : “For a long time, the representative institutions were considered the most able to translate the will of the citizens. But since the Internet has made it possible to generalize the direct practice of voting, the fantasy of a digital agora, an e-democracy, is increasingly competing with and challenging them. “
Of course, this type of initiative can be mocked.
However, if the “digital Agora” allows our public officials to talk to citizens, rather than followers, we will have taken a big step!
Iconography : a young man on his smartphone, Athen Agora, April 24, 2017 (personal collection)