Posts tagged ‘jon worth’

How the European Citizens’ Initiative will shake up the Brussels bubble

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a new instrument whereby the European Commission has to put forward legislative proposals to respond to a petition that has gathered one million signatures within a year coming from at least 7 EU Member States. Although some organisations such as eBay or Greenpeace have already started ECI-like petitions, the first “official” ECIs are expected as of February 2012 in order to allow Member States to take the necessary measures to implement the new scheme.

Much has been said and written on the European Citizens’ Initiative. Discussions however have mainly focused on whether it would be a success or a failure, the potential risks of the instrument – more than the opportunities – and what its impact could be on the EU decision-making equilibrium. Few commentators wondered whether there had already been pan-European petitions that reached one million signatures, and if there had been, how they managed to do so. We had already raised this point in the panel we organised in October at the Personal Democracy Forum with MEP Marietje Schaake, Julius van de Laar from Avaaz, and Euroblogger Jon Worth.

As we like the ECI so much, we have pursued our analysis in our brand new FH paper, looking specifically at how pan-European petitions have managed to gather one million signatures in the past, how the Internet has helped them do so –our favourite topic- and what the first European Citizens’ Initiatives might be about.

[10 April, 2012: In light of unintended perceptions of our services around the ECI, we are revising our paper to clarify our offering. We stress that our support on the ECI would not extend to organising citizens’ initiatives as this is not in line with the Commission’s rules on the ECI. We apologise if the paper appeared to state otherwise. We shall be uploading the updated paper asap but please bear with us, it’s Easter.. As ever we would appreciate any input from readers.]

Yes we are making predictions! Let’s see in two years from now if we got them right. I’m personally very curious to see how the European Citizens’ Initiative will evolve. Will it be overexploited or hardly used at all? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure: it has the potential to change the well-established dynamics of the Brussels bubble and take us out of our comfort zone.

Laurence

March 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm 1 comment

From one seat to one president – a new digital dawn in Brussels?

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Hats off to Brussels bloggers Jon Worth and Jan Seifert as they embark on a new Brussels digital campaign called “Who do I call?“.  Their aim is simple. They think that the Commission President and newly created President of the European Council should be the one and same person.

While we still remain to be convinced about the merits of the case,  we do admire the team’s online efforts. (Admittedly as some of us have yet to really think about it – this thinking usual happens when we should be relaxing).  You can support in a number of ways from a simple signing of their petition, signing up on Facebook, putting the banner on your site to translating their copy into another language. The choice is yours. For the first time we have seen in an EU based campaign, the guys are using many of the tools out there to take visitors through all of the stages of online activist engagement, with the exception of getting people to take their activity offline…

Online activism

As Jon readily admits, the challenge will be to see whether their own (formidable) online and offline networks will draw enough support to the campaign centre. Unlike the one seat campaign and the 1million4disability, they do not currently have the kind of ready made organisational support of traditional NGO grassroots campaigns. It’s an interestingly experiment to see whether a European campaign can start online and migrate offline as attention builds. Clearly however, the team is already using its online contacts to spread the word and is actively looking at networks they are already part of to join the cause (hence this blog post). More posts in Facebook groups and a guest appearance on Blogactiv’s ideas page are perhaps in order in the coming days.

BTW – it’s great to see best practice blogger relations techniques being used here in Brussels. It’s just a pity that this time around we are the subject of the blogger relations, rather than the ones undertaking it!

March 3, 2008 at 8:01 pm 4 comments


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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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