Tuesday 2 February 2010

Creating debates: The European Parliament on Facebook

There is nothing new in the fact that the European Parliament is on Facebook.

But it is worth noticing that the daily updates by the great people writing for y(EU) are regularly provoking debates. Some just produce 3 comments, other like the one from today regarding enlargment make it up to 80 comments within two hours (Update: 150 within five hours).

That is more than many euroblogs, including the most read posts get for whatever they write on. And here it is definitely an advantage of the institution having over 60,000 fans on Facebook so far.

But debates like the one today introduced with the following lines:
European Parliament regularly examines the candidates readiness for membership (see bit.ly/enlargeEU). But how ready are EU citizens? Do you feel that enlargement is a good thing? Who is welcome? - Some of your reactions here are to be quoted on the Parliament website this Thursday
not only produce quite controversial debates but also see very reflected individual comments worth thinking about:
"I think that now is a bad moment to discuss about the enlargement. The financial crisis make people more sensitive to changes, and many can see them as threats.

In general, the right political parties in Europe are growing due to the approach they make to nacionalists, extreme religious groups and similar. They are the ones receiving more money from the members and their agenda is often determined by economical issues.

I think now the difference between the citizens of all the EU are increased by the downturn and until things are more balanced again, the benefits of expansion will be hardly seen by anybody. And there is a lot of cleaning to do in the "old" members first, before trying to lecture the "new comers".

The corruption in Spain, Italy, UK, Greece, is sky-high and governments infiltrated with far-right members are not going to do much to improve things. And most definetly, countries that have major Human-Rights issues should not be allowed to pleed for the integration in the UE until their address their problems and proof they're working on a solution.
If there are any doubts about going web 2.0 for EU institutions, allowing debates to develop freely while having the power to set the agenda, these should be washed away by the success of what the EP does on Facebook!


Umar Ahmed said...

I would agree that there is great potential for the EU institutions to go online to communicate and interact with citizens. However, we need to ensure that we are not just speaking to the same audience in a different location. Those interested in EU politics and the debates around them will flock to the conversation no matter where it is happening. The substantial impact will only come when those disinterested in the EU are brought into the conversation.