22 Jan 2012

A Surreal Proposal Comes From the EU Commission.

The E.U. Commission has a real job to win hearts and minds of European citizens for this weeks launch of the European Citizen's Initiative programme.

This brand new tool for participatory democracy....... will strengthen the democratic foundations of the Union and bring Europe closer to its citizens.......I hope that EU citizens and especially young people will seize the opportunity and embrace this new right.....Maroš Šefčovič Vice-President of the European Commission

Yippee! we're all getting a say in the running of the European Union....but what about the elected parliament and the council of Europe, is policy not their job. Well actually the commission tables the policies and the parliament discuss their proposals.

OK game back on, so what do we do to.....easy, you propose an initiative. It gets approved by the commission. No time wasters, frauds, meanies or Euroskeptiks need apply.

Oops, didn't the entire Jacques Santer commission resign in March 1999 over fraud allegations or was that just an old fashioned power struggle with the Parliament which gave rise to the Euroskeptik movement.
Never mind we soon got a new commission with some of Santer's boys reinstated including Mario Monti who is now running Italy. But it was all because of that nasty French woman Edith Cresson
Great stuff. So what's the time frame for a citizen's initiative? It can take up to about 2 years of your life from start to finish. Ah but the opportunity to make a difference is worth it.......right......Well its not exactly that straight forward. You see even though the commission reserves the right to approve or not approve the initiative at the outset depending on your moral credibility, there is some small print...There always is.

Once you have done all the work and been transparent about your sources of support and funding ..hmmm...... the commission reserves the right under Article 10 to

(c) within three months, set out in a communication its legal and political conclusions on the citizens’ initiative, the action it intends to take, if any, and its reasons for taking or not taking that action.

It can seem surreal for the commission to promote a citizen's  initiative
 which includes possible penalties for those who participate.  2012 
In other words ignore the initiative.....Oh dear and while we are at it the commission can wash its hands of any fallout from the initiative it gives approval to.

Article 13 Liability
Organisers shall be liable for any damage they cause in the organisation of a citizens’ initiative in accordance with applicable national law.

And the never ending punishments that go with all EU legislation.
Article 14 Penalties
1. Member States shall ensure that organisers are subject to appropriate penalties for infringements of this Regulation and in particular for: (a) false declarations made by organisers; (b) the fraudulent use of data.

2. The penalties referred to in paragraph 1 shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive (discouraging)
Now that commissioner Cresson was punished over the fraud when vast sums of money went mission under her watch. No of course not she go off with it. Ah but don't they all these days.

At least the information about the citizens is safe as the initiative rules under Article 12/ No 3

The organisers shall ensure that personal data collected for a given citizen’s initiative are not used for any purpose other than their indicated support for that initiative, and shall destroy all statements of support received for that initiative and any copies thereof at the latest one month after submitting that initiative to the Commission.

But that clever old commission just further down the page in Article 12/ No 5 reserves the right to keep
Statements of support for a given citizens’ initiative and copies thereof may be retained beyond the time limits laid down in paragraphs 3 and 4 if necessary for the purpose of legal or administrative proceedings relating to a proposed citizen’s initiative.

Hmm.... why take a chance participating in democracy......just so much punishment about these days.