Brussels Blogger

Agora LogoThe European Parliament has recently gathered some hundred EU citizens to discuss major European topics at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The so called Agora has been complemented by an online forum, which allows online discussion of the same topics on a special section on the Parliament’s website. The forum is available in French and English.

103 reactions in 3 days

To date, there have been just a bit over one hundred reactions (103 to be exact) on major topics like the borders of Europe, rights of citizens or the future of the EU. I think that with such a low participation the online forum, so far, can be called a complete failure.

But don’t get me wrong: The idea behind the Agora is a good one (and the real life meeting might have been a complete success – I cannot judge, as I wasn’t there). Also I don’t call for the abolishment of such online forums. But please, let us try to better connect and coordinate such forums! There is no point in the European institutions already having around 5 places where citizens can post there comments.

Online forums need time and money

Finally, EU institutions need to accept that online forums need time to built momentum. There is no point in opening a new forum, moderating it for some weeks and then closing it down after some months have passed by. Online forums need time, money and involvement. Everything else will not work.

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  1. Rubbish. To succeed, online forums need someone to make them succeed. They need an energetic evangelist with something to say and the willingness to engage in dialog. In that, there is not that much difference between an email forum and a blog. Use it as a propaganda channel, as a means of pushing a one-side opinion and it will rightly die the death is so richly deserves. if the EU wants engagement with the electorate it must open the windows and doors and stop hiding its corruption where it cannot be sen. If it wants to reach out to the public in forums, it must learn to listen instead of pontificate.

  2. Well, look at the the rules for participation when you are a European citizen.

    You have to choose an organisation, send your message to that NGO and then hope that they carry it forward.

    We already have representative democracy, don’t we?

  3. Well, 103 is not that bad, judging that it was a new forum. I think that starting on-line forums afresh is quite difficult nowadays. The Commission’s Debate Europe is actually quite decent.

    I wouldn’t be so harsh only because of the numbers.

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