Posts tagged ‘Member of the European Parliament’

It’s for you: NGOs fill the digital space in the Telecoms Package

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Leading up to last week’s vote in the European Parliament of the Telecoms Package, it was striking to see the myriad of digital advocacy tools that were used by a group of NGOs called ‘La Quadrature du Net/Squaring the Net’. To safeguard the openness of internet and to prevent the insertion of the so called graduated response (or 3 strikes and you’re out) ‘La Quadrature du Net” put together an impressive online campaign that included:

  • A campaign wiki allows you to collaborate in the campaign – all the information related to the campaign was put on a wiki on their website that allows you to see their recommended voting list, download tools to help you contact MEPs, standard letter templates, information about the campaign and MEPs and the ability of course to add your own user generated content
  • A simple but effective website includes a blog, newsletter subscription, RSS feeds and a press review to keep you coming back
  • Search engine – if you searched for Telecoms Package on Google last week, La Quadrature du Net came up first
  • Online banners and blogs – the blog posts in favor of amendments supported by La Quadrature du Net exploded – again all downloadable from their website

All in all, if you were the assistant responsible for briefing your MEP ahead of the vote and looking for information online you would have probably found their information. If you were a supporter, there’s all you need to get you started on advocating on the issue. Although one does not necessarily has to agree with their point of view, La Quadrature du Net did manage to create a lot of noise in very short period of time and their campaign is an excellent example about how to use digital.

Perhaps an example that digital industries can learn from?

Magnus

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October 2, 2008 at 9:27 am 8 comments

Let them eat cake!

Given that the roof fell in on the Strasbourg Parliament building over the summer, MEPs supporting the one seat campaign have staged an event in the European Parliament to protest about the fact that they have to trek down to Strasbourg where they all don hard hats (see video above). Laughing at how they look aside, we have a feeling that despite the continued protest the French will be quite prepared to let them continue to eat cake.

James

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September 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

Newton-Dunn proves trips to the EP in Strasbourg aren’t all bad

Sometimes we have to come down to Strasbourg for the European Parliament. And this month its unfortunately our turn on the FH roster. Thankfully there are some things that make it all worthwhile, other than revisiting pubs we passed far too much time in during our ERASMUS year. In between sitting through debates on the alleged evils of bio, sorry Claude, agro-fuels, we managed to have an interesting chinwag with one of the latest MEPs to enter the blogosphere for a chat about e-campaiging and the forthcoming elections; Bill Newton-Dunn of the UK’s Liberal Democrats.

There are lots of things to like about Bill. For one, he seems to be as addicted to his CrackBerry as we are. He also has started to post about the things that catch his attention and does so from a personal perspective. Today he was enthused by a bunch of doctors who wanted to inform him over lunch about organ harvesting in China (Bill, we await the promised post) and exudes a boyish enthusiasm for “issues” that restores one’s sometimes diminished faith in MEPs.

More importantly for this blog, Bill believes that the internet is the future for political campaigining at a European level. Hence the beginnings of his blog. Ok, so he admits that his biggest challenge is the ability to ignore his assistant’s demands to deal with urgent Committee issues and write the post that is buzzing around his head. But he does allow comments, unlike some on the PES side, and would clearly be stoked should anyone, including industry, want to engage in a debate with him online. (We can attest to his willingness in this regard, as the only reason we met him was because of a random email exchange about his blog). He also admits that he has a lot to learn about using the internet to reach out to voters, while recognising that the medium is perfect for cashstrapped and issue heavy European elections.

In any case, Bill’s clearly on the right path. A new website is being developed by a US based developer that he met through colleagues on the Hill. He promises that it’s going to take the best aspects from some of the presidential nominees sites in this primary season, while admitting that somewhat unfortunately for a LibDem he likes Republican Mike Huckabee’s site best. It’s great to find an MEP who has seen what’s happening on politics on the internet and is willing to give it a go. Even better that he wants to encourage others to follow him online.

P.S. Is it us or does the Strasbourg Hilton resemble a motorway service station?

April 23, 2008 at 12:36 am 2 comments

Why do letters on the size of sow stalls move MEPs?

Source: WikipediaWe highlighted the success of the online petition and social media activities of the Burma campaign last year and it seems that Tibet has also sparked a similar online movement. With the digital world potentially lowering the barrier to entry for those wishing to gather support around an issue, a Friday morning coffee corner conversation overlooking a cold Square de Meeus got us thinking about whether “expressed” public opinion counts more in some policy areas than others.

Why is it that a petition like oneseat doesn’t have an effect, while a regular handful of letters on animal welfare issues get UK MEPs of all political colours speaking in unison in favour of larger sow stalls? It could be of course related to the fact that the site of one of the EU institutions is an intergovernmental decision and our directly elected representatives in the EP have a say in the comfort of the humble pig. The latter are perhaps more suceptible to “public opinion”, after all they are the only elected EU institution. Or perhaps our politicians make a distinction between issues the voting public have something to say and issues that should be left to those that know? They may of course have a point.

In any case, the animal welfare example just goes to show that one doesn’t need a supporting cast of millions to sway policymakers in Brussels and thus targeted online digital grassroots could be an effective way of getting a result, depending on the issue of course. Thankfully, our clients are more likely to be interested in swaying the size of sow stalls than the locations of institutions – small things tend to have big impacts. As such, a cast of millions may grab the attention of Commissioners, but is it needed?

March 28, 2008 at 10:28 pm 1 comment

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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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