Challenge for Europe

In 2006/2007, the students of DESS in Communication and European Affairs of IHECS-Bruxelles (Institute for Higher Education in Social Communication) organized a simulation of the European Parliament to draft a proposal that would strengthen civil society through a reform of the European Economic and Social Committee. The students advocate concrete change in the composition of the current group III (various interests) of the EESC to amplify the voice of civil society (NGOs, Associations, not-for-profits). The innovation will be that members of group III, renamed as the “Organized Civil Society Unit,” will henceforth be European representatives and no longer national delegates, as is the current status of EESC counselors. Taking the point of view of civil society into account better in the mechanism of European decision-making is a necessary condition for democracy.

To read the full article, click here

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Post written by Laura Englebert, IHECS International (Institut des Hautes Etudes en Communications sociales www.ihecs.be)

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  1. It was refreshing to see this article. I hope the group will make an in-depth study of what really happened in history. Much of it is not written in national textbooks because the governments made great efforts to block proper elections to the Economic and Social Committee. The original model was the Consultative Committee of the Coal and Steel Community, the pioneering Community at the source of the principles of European democracy. The tripartite voting system is a great innovatory part of the system. The major antidemocratic damage took place at the time of de Gaulle. He also blocked direct elections to the European Parliament until 1979. It would have been worse had de Gaulle not been resisted by the Belgian Paul-Henri Spaak and Joseph Luns of NL. The EcoSoc is still at the stage of development of the Asembly in the Gaullist period.
    However, the good news is that very little needs to be done to revise the Treaties. All that is needed is political and moral courage, like the parliamentarians who insisted on elections and took the matter to the European Court. Further information can be found on http://www.schuman.info/schoolreport.htm and other articles and http://democracy.blogactiv.eu
    I hope that IHECS will devote further research and publicity to creating a realistic debating chamber for organized civil society as Europe’s founding fathers intended.
    Bon Courage!

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