Not being able to go in the Belgian capital city, my colleague Estelle Delaine for “Le Café de l’Europe” blog went there. A very interesting meeting, if I refer to her report, showing the will of the Cypriot EU Presidency to involve the blogosphere as intermediary between EU and European citizens better.
It is the first time such an initiative is launched and proposed by Member State holding the rotating Council of the European Union presidency, sign that the blogosphere is more and more regarded and bloggers perceived as full-fledged citizen-actors. The objective of the Cyprus presidency and the Council Secretariat is simple and clear: making this new communications media more effective and reducing the gap which still exists between citizens and the EU (the well-known democratic deficit!) As a participant highlighted during this meeting, the Union is still distant from peoples even if in the same time, the Internet is here to correct this tendency. Thus, the involvement and the role of the bloggers become more and more obvious and essential to live the debate at the EU scale.
Several workshops were organized to think about the way to improve communication between EU and citizens in the framework of the new tools which are social networks and blogs. The exchanges were not exhaustive but very essential for the following.
This is the ambition of the Cypriot presidency, implementing a European platform of blogs to favour the interaction between EU and citizens. To be clear, blogosphere becomes an interactive area allowing citizens to be informed and also participate to the debates on a national as local scale. Indeed, questions related to European policies should be able to be debated between European citizens and directly come to them, which suppose a better communication and interaction. The skate is very important for a European Union which really does not master the Internet 2.0 and always communicate with XX° century tools (reports, press release, press conference) instead of coming into the XXI° century.
If the Cyprus presidency initiative gathered a limited number of bloggers (most of them live in Brussels) because of summertime, it was innovating and audacious nonetheless. As I’m often used to saying, we cannot build EU without citizens, their own involvement being a sine qua none condition to legitimize the European integration. However, that supposes the existence and the involvement of citizen-relays being there not to force people to be converted to Europe but to provoke the debate. The Internet 2.0 is a genuine mean due to a new generation – the mine – much more familiar with this tool because having grown up with it. The EU Cypriot Presidency understood it very well and considers with this tool, a new direction to democracy can be done within the EU, putting new tools and new intermediaries forward, the blogosphere especially.
PS : if you wish to follow the Cypriot presidency, go and click on their blog, their Twitter account or their official institutional website, http://www.cy2012.eu. You can also watch a video summing up the meeting just below :