Emmanuel Macron launched the excellent idea of the democratic conventions in order for the people in Europe to re-appropriate the European idea. And indeed it would be way time to organise a true dialogue with the citizens and try to overcome the mistrust accumulated after a long list of negative factors: the shocks of the Dutch and French referendum in 2005, the socially disastrous management of the European debt crisis, the referendum on the Brexit in June 2016, and at the end the growing feeling that Europe remains unable to deliver the answers she should deliver in our today‘s challenging environment, should it be in the fight against terrorism, the security issues, the digital transformation or the energy transition.
Then let us face the truth, Europe has lost her legitimacy and thus has no future if it does not succeed in becoming again a project supported by most of the European people(s). The current Europe may deserve to be drastically changed, but which Europe should replace her? These Democratic Conventions could play a key role in this re-foundation process.
I therefore immediately supported the idea of these Democratic Conventions. And since then I have been desperately watching out any piece of information which would help me to understand what will be their concrete agenda, who is today defining this agenda, how should they be organised and for which concrete objectives. So far the biggest help that I could receive on this matter came from the report made by the Commission for European Affairs of the French National Assembly (see a previous post on this topic). But this report raises more questions that it gives answers. And it shows how far we are from a clear organisation of these Democratic Conventions. The concept seems to be still a bit vague.
Then at this stage my personal position would be the following:
– Yes, the idea of having these Democratic Conventions is excellent and very much corresponds to a strategic need and momentum on Europe.
– No, they cannot be organised by the European Institutions which discredited themselves in the management of our current poly-crisis. Which naturally does not mean that the European institutions should be excluded from the Democratic Conventions.
– No, they cannot be organised by the Member States which are as the true drivers of this inoperative intergovernmental Europe fully responsible of the absence of efficient answers to this current poly-crisis. Which naturally does not mean that the Member States should be excluded from the Democratic Conventions.
– No, they should not become the thousandth irrelevant la la show on the great values that Europe so greatly embodies but …never follows, or the Xth after-sale show of a Europe which is reduced to a void communication exercise.
Since it is the moment of truth for Europe, it should be also the moment of truth for the European citizens. It is time to be demanding toward the European Institutions and the Member States, but the European citizens have also to face their responsibilities. We are Europe and Europe is and shall only be what we, the European people(s) let her be. Then it is way time to remember that the Congress of The Hague in 1948 which was the very first stone of our European construction, was not organised by the states or by any official European institutions, it was organised by the then civil society. It was the logic result of the willingness coming from the anarchy of many new pro-European movements. Shouldn‘t the re-foundation of Europe proceed from the same dynamic?
There are today so many pro-European or eurosceptic movements, and we also start to see the creation of many pan-European (micro) parties willing to prepare the 2019 European elections. We have thousands of think-tanks writing thousands of very clever reports on Europe. We have also the emergence of citizens movements and civic tech projects which want to work on creating a new form of democracy in Europe. Then let us be serious, there will not be real Democratic Conventions if those are not organised by the demos, by the people. Incumbent administrations, national or European ones, are welcome and should attend and help, but they should be neither the organisers nor the inviting party. The Democratic Conventions if they want to be real have to be organised by a European citizens initiative. This is the #TheHague2_0 project.
#TheHague2_0 should be an open architecture organisation built by the European civil society as a broad platform enabling the structure of a modern citizens dialogue in and on Europe. It should not be an artificial pro-European show, but it should be connected to the non-pro-European spheres in order to bring all together the fair answers to three structuring questions:
– What is Europe? What are her geographical limits?
– What do we want to do together? What is the true competency perimeter of the European project we want?
– What should be the democratic architecture of the European administration in charge of this project?
In order to get the answers to these questions we need to meet the citizens, and to challenge the politicians and the experts. We need to organise a big debate, at several levels, local, national and European ones, and add naturally a digital one. We would need also to deliver conclusions which can be concretely used to re-shape the European project. And I am sure we would find enough people willing to fight for having these conclusions truly implemented. Then we would have a solid basis to challenge the today‘s Europe and finally build the Europe that we want. I have no idea of what in the details would be this Europe designed by such a #TheHague2_0 process, but I am convinced that this is the only Europe which is worth fighting for. Simply because it would be the fair reflection of what people want.
Then let us start an informal brainstorming on this #TheHague2_0 idea. As soon as January. Let us build a network of interested persons/organisations, and quickly launch the process. Please far away from the spot lights and narrow communication of the political parties. Being open to everybody, integrating all the various expertise that we need in order to deliver the project.
And who knows, if it works it could in fact create the pan-European platform we start dreaming about for the next European elections.
#WeAreEurope then we are in charge.