Thursday, October 13, 2005

What are the other 343 MPs up to?

Just heard that when the president of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barosso, is visiting Sweden next week he will not address the Swedish parliament. The address is cancelled since only six (6) MPs had RSVP:ed and said that they wanted to come and listen and ask questions. I don’t know what the other 343 MPs will be doing but I have to stress three things:
1. I think Mark Leonard is right when he underlines that the huge advantage of the EU as a political project is its “soft power” which has forced so many countries to reform in order to create a peaceful continent from Galway Bay to (sooner or later) Ankara. This is indeed a model that many countries and regions are studying right now in the whole world.
2. Margot Wallström (vice president of the European Commission) is on the right track when she presents a “Plan-D” for Europe, but in order democratize the European Union and create a public, European debate/sphere à la Habermas you need a solid bottom-up process – and not only top-down. From a center-left perspective: if we are all going to feel like members of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and not only our national parties, we need more activism on the grass-root level, among trade unions and NGOs – not only in the PES-leadership and at universities.
3. I am proudly and staunchly pro-European, but I also understand that we have a problem when only six out of 349 MPs answer a call to listen to and meet the president of the European Commission. But since I believe that capital and companies again are so much stronger than the necessary democratic control, I want to do something about it, and then the EU and the PES are two very important tools.


Anonymous Jon Worth said...

That is really quite remarkable... Was it just Barroso's own idea to come to Sweden, or was the government involved? I think that even in the UK Barroso would for sure get a better reception than that. Can you not get him to talk to the S-Studenter or something instead? ;-)

23/10/05 19:40  

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