April 08, 2008
On 4th of April 2008, representatives from all over Europe attended the EUD Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. With over 12 leading figures from national parties and movements, the Congress addressed such issues as the leadership of the party and future projects. One of the major targets is to pave the way for local member movements for the 2009 European Parliament elections, the odds looking quite bright at the moment.
The Congress also included the approval of new EUD members, namely movements from Sweden, Finland and Romania. Jens-Peter Bonde was elected president of the organisation, with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Hélène Goudin as co-presidents. Vice-presidents were selected from the national party leaders and include such names as Kathy Sinott from Ireland, Sharon Ellul Bonici from Malta, Peter Kopecky from Slovakia, Igor Grazin from Estonia, Nicolaj Bliznakov from Bulgaria, Lavinia Sandru from Romania or Gorazd Drevensek from Slovenia.
The Congress also included statements prepared by all participants, which drew attention on many important subjects of focus for the EUDemocrats. Not only were democratic shortcomings at both national and EU level underlined, but the very values of the EUD were re-expressed. A good example is Mr Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s declaration, who was recently elected lord mayor with an incredible record 80% of the votes. He mentioned that while he campaigned against the EU Constitution (a campaign that he won), it is very important to understand that this choice is not at all anti-European. “J’aime l’Europe, je vote non!” was his slogan (“I love Europe, I vote no”). Members of the EUD, like the EUD itself, are not anti-EU, as some EU projects have greatly improved life across the continent. However, a basic principle is the need for a democratic reform of the institutions, as one cannot accept decisions imposed by ‘grey figures’. Especially because of the positive potential of the Union, the citizens should be able to make their own decisions within its framework.
Many other interesting points were raised at the Congress. Mr Declan Ganley, Irish entrepreneur running his own campaign against the Lisbon Treaty, noted how an important EUD strategy will be to turn the 2009 elections into a proxy referendum. While the people of the EU were denied a chance to voice out their opinions on the Treaty itself, they will be able to show those politicians that prevented national referenda that there is indeed some accountability for their actions. Voting for EUD representatives will send a clear message that EU citizens did not forget how they were ignored in the Lisbon Treaty ratification process.
Nils Lundgren, Swedish MEP noted how “It is regrettable that the citizens have to vote either the extreme right or the extreme left to express a different view on EU affairs”, pointing out the fact that the EUD is a more realistic alternative to this. All the other attendees at the Congress mentioned further such issues. Mr Peter Kopecky from Slovakia was a first proponent for a new national-level campaign, discussing his AGORA project that strives to promote direct democracy in his home country.
In the end, the Congress reinforced the importance that a group such as the EUDemocrats exists. Not a far left or far right group, neither a direct anti European movement, the EUD represents a realistic alternative for those citizens who want democratic reform, transparency, accountability to characterise the European Union, without opposing Europe as a whole. Our opinion is that there is an increasing group of people falling into this category.
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