[Open-Legislation] some thoughts on the elections + ranking of merit

stef s at ctrlc.hu
Tue May 20 09:08:13 UTC 2014


> ep elections 2014
> 2014-05-20
> (I have to take a short break from forging code to share my concerns
> regarding the important upcoming European elections:)
> Recent developments regarding the security of the internet show a striking
> resemblance to western societies apathy towards the crumbling of basic
> democratic values. Looking a little closer the seeds of the European Union
> started about the same time a bunch of Californian hippies worked for the
> military on the internet. The idealistic spirit of those times is a unique
> heritage, never before did we have a decentralized means of communication
> and never before did we have such a diverse representation in policy-making
> as in the European parliament. "United in diversity" - indeed. Let's avoid
> the sad corruption of the internet to a tool of oppression and keep the EP
> working in the idealistic spirit of its creators.
> Wins
> Besides legislating on the standard parameters of toothpaste-stripes there
> are few very important policy domains that point beyond the usual 5 year
> horizon of the average elected EP representative. The European Parliament
> has been fundamental in stopping ACTA just 2 years ago. A battle which
> started long before (thanks wikileaks) the current batch of members of the
> European Parliament (MEPs) took their seats. Stopping the attempt to install
> EU-wide censorship - disguised as a child porn filter - was also a success.
> We have a lot of hope in the recently revised data protection regulation and
> just this month the network neutrality regulation proposal got saved by a
> broad coalition against the intent and interests represented by the lead
> rapporteur.
> Losses
> We lost the unitary patent battle last year - and thus also the EU economy
> and competitiveness. We still have all kind of data sharing agreements with
> the US. The network neutrality and the data protection proposal by the EP
> will also probably go into a second round after the elections. But the
> council will be smart enough to wait for the results before committing
> itself to the next step (which seems to involve the UK to veto this in the
> name of censorship hidden behind the ragged excuse of child porn.) We also
> lost the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, an important initiative about the
> prospects of the radio frequencies freed up by switching to digital
> television. Instead of opening up parts of this liberated commons, it is
> auctioned away to telco companies. With good legislation we could have
> created a new industry that provides local radio-based internet services.
> Instead we fed the quasi-monopolies.
> Future
> Among the many outstanding issues, most importantly ACTA is back on steroids
> called Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), a classical FTA renamed
> to TTIP so it does not sound so scary. Another concerning agreement is the
> Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which seems to be coming out of the same
> corner as TTIP. Similar future challenges are the conclusions of the Data
> Protection and the Network Neutrality initiatives. Data retention has just
> been ruled unconstitutional by the European Court of Justice, this topic
> will surely come back in the next term. The world is copying our laws, let's
> make sure they are copying good stuff.
> We live in exciting times, on the global level Europe has a lot of merit.
> However the other global players are not interested in a strong Europe, thus
> Euro-skepticism and national politics plays into our global competitors
> hands. The NSA scandal is a great example of this, as it shows weak isolated
> inaction in the member-states. The only serious effort has been the more
> than dozen hearings on this issue in the Civil Liberties Committee of the
> EP.
> Euro-skeptics
> As with many populists movements, the root-causes of euro-skepticism are
> partly valid and quite interesting. The European institutions are overly
> bureaucratic, some useless or redundant (looking at EP in Strasbourg for
> example), non-transparent, undemocratic and quite corrupt. The answer of the
> euro-skeptics to the broken system is quite wrong, the tool is great we just
> need to take responsibility, fix it and learn to use it! We are not living
> in a small isolated town, Europe is a major player in a global competition.
> As such we must use our power in a concentrated way, we must fix the
> problems identified by the euro-skeptics and be a role-model for the whole
> world with positive action like the rejection of ACTA or a strong Data
> Protection regulation.
> I see however a chance to become a skeptic myself. As with any technology,
> the EP itself I believe it is neutral, what matters is who and how uses it.
> If we allow the EP to degenerate by staffing it with the corrupt political
> elite that fails us daily at home, then I see a reason for skepticism
> myself, but still not against the institution but its inhabitants and rules.
> Villains
> "United in diversity" - indeed. the European parliament has members from 28
> countries, between 170-190 parties, even if there are large political blocks
> - or groups as they're called in Brussels-speak - in the EP. There's no sign
> of a suffocating and anti-democratic majority dominating the parliament,
> there's almost always some dissenting splinter-group. Of course in such a
> diverse crowd there are also all kinds of interests represented, mostly
> narrow interests. Some are fully legitimate such as the narrow interests of
> Mediterranean fishers for example are not concerns shared by a polish miner,
> or less legit meddling of foreign, non-european interests like the tobacco
> industry, or the US State department, Hollywood, Monsanto, or the pharma
> industry, you name it. Of course the bulk of the parliament is from dumb
> populist parties that have no values but lots of closely controlled voters.
> But for every topic you have some kind of small core group of
> representatives that is deeply engaged and informed about the issue. Some of
> these core MEPs can be considered the villains representing narrow industry
> or interests external to Europe.
> Champions
> Some representatives have a strong interest to strategically serve the
> diverse European society. Issues like copyright, patents, data protection,
> network neutrality have been heroically fought over by a handful of few
> MEPs. These sound like quite technical matters, but they are very much
> defining our environment and our daily lives. One of the most heroic of all
> was Amelia Andersdotter the young Pirate MEP from Sweden. Who although
> started only at half-time of her term - due to the blocking of the french -
> she took on responsibility as some kind of rapporteur for 17 issues with
> quite hard topics. She also authored more than a 1000 amendments, putting
> her way ahead of most of her colleagues when it comes to hard work and
> representing European social interest. Other notable champions were
>     Claude Moraes (NSA hearings),
>     Jan Philip Albrecht (Data Protection),
>     David Martin, Francoise Castex, Zuzana Roithová, Alexander Alvaro,
>         Stavros Lambrinidis, Pawel Zalewski (ACTA)
>     Carlo Casini (roll-call votes in committees)
> ...and lot's of others, see the following part:
> Ranking of MEPs
> The campaigns of the leading political groups are incredibly boring,
> promising populistic visions of "Jobs, Growth and Security". Let's not get
> into the statistics and history game about their merits in this regard.
> Instead let's look at some facts on long-term strategic positions affecting
> all our society. score-ep.org ranks all MEPs based on their voting behavior
> on Climate Change, Fracking, GM Crops, Arms Trade and LGBT Issues. The
> presentation of this data-set is beautiful. Much less visual, and
> overlapping in the Climate Change dataset I have also prepared such a
> scoreboard.

> Based on the input of four interests groups whose assessment of the MEPS was
> available to me, this is a ranking of all MEPs serving in the 7th (currently
> ending) term of the EP. The four data-sets I used came from:
>     La Quadrature du Nets Memopol - and covers various internet and digital
>         rights related topics.
>     Lobbyplag created an assessment based on the amendments submitted in the
>         civil liberties committee to the Data Protection Regulation.
>     CAN Europe, Sandbag and WWF Europe rates MEPs based on votes related to
>         climate change (this is overlapping with the ep-score.org data).
>     Phillip Morris tried to influence the tobacco directive and some of its
>         MEP assessments have leaked to the public and thus into this list ;)
> The results: eastern countries and conservatives have the least respect for
> civil liberties, long-term public good or social benefit. On the good side
> the official champion is Rui Tavares, he and his green fellows rank highest
> when it comes to representing the widest interests. Personally I was
> expecting someone else to come out on top, Amelia Andersdotter. Her problem,
> she was in the wrong committee - Industry instead of Civil Liberties - only
> members of the latter got scored by Lobbyplag. If not only the amendments of
> the civil liberties but also the Industry committee would have been rated
> she would've come out on top.

> The top 10 MEPs
> Total Score    MEP   Country  Party
> 2.8888   Rui Tavares    Portugal    Bloco de Esquerda (Independente)
> 2.8809   Jean Lambert   United Kingdom    Green Party
> 2.7909   Mikael Gustafsson    Sweden   Vänsterpartiet
> 2.6472   Jan Philipp Albrecht    Germany  Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
> 2.6333   Pavel Poc   Czech Republic    Česká strana sociálně demokratická
> 2.6174   Tarja Cronberg    Finland  Vihreä liitto
> 2.6166   Cornelis De Jong  Netherlands    Socialistische Partij
> 2.6111   Marije Cornelissen   Netherlands    GroenLinks
> 2.6055   Bas Eickhout   Netherlands    GroenLinks
> 2.5681   Rebecca Taylor    United Kingdom    Liberal Democrats Party
> The bottom of this list is mostly populated by (french) conservatives.
> Ranking of countries according to the 4 criteria:
> rank  country  avg   total
> 1  Denmark  0.729    10.206
> 2  Sweden   0.723    15.912
> 3  Netherlands    0.536    15.566
> 4  Estonia  0.458    2.751
> 5  Ireland  0.398    5.980
> 6  Belgium  0.349    8.725
> 7  Austria  0.325    6.825
> 8  Finland  0.297    5.056
> 9  Portugal    0.246    5.920
> 10    Cyprus   0.206    1.651
> 11    Malta    0.196    1.767
> 12    Greece   0.138    3.738
> 13    Slovenia    0.115    1.042
> 14    Germany  0.106    11.155
> 15    United Kingdom    0.052    4.073
> 16    France   -0.003   -0.339
> 17    Lithuania   -0.025   -0.333
> 18    Latvia   -0.035   -0.318
> 19    Romania  -0.044   -1.660
> 20    Spain    -0.068   -4.104
> 21    Croatia  -0.072   -0.875
> 22    Italy    -0.142   -11.390
> 23    Slovakia    -0.149   -1.938
> 24    Luxembourg  -0.174   -1.049
> 25    Czech Republic    -0.180   -4.324
> 26    Bulgaria    -0.346   -7.622
> 27    Hungary  -0.370   -9.634
> 28    Poland   -0.730   -39.423
> You can download these datasets in a CSV format that you can load into your
> favorite spreadsheet editor: meps.csv, countries.csv, parties.csv.
> Conclusion
> So what I want to say is that, the EP is a powerful tool, there are a lot of
> important issues, there are a few good people in the parliament, they have
> been working hard, there's also a few corrupt people in the parliament that
> have vast industry support. And then we have the majority of the parliament
> who is so busy with other issues that they have no clue, they amount to
> about 90-95%. These masses follow either the champions or the villains. We
> must make sure that we have more champions and less villains and that the
> remaining masses are aligned with the Champs.
> So please look at the rankings, go and vote, express your skepticism of the
> people who brought us here, not the institutions that have been abused. It
> matters. Thank you.

otr fp: https://www.ctrlc.hu/~stef/otr.txt

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