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Civil society is a crucial component of any democratic society, as it plays a vital role in ensuring that the voices of individuals and communities are heard and represented in the political process. As the European Pirate Party, we recognize the importance of civil society in the European Union and its member states, and we are committed to strengthening the values that underpin it.
At the heart of our mission is a commitment to the fundamental values of the European Union, as outlined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union. We believe that the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities like LGBT, are non-negotiable principles that must be upheld and defended at all times.
To achieve this goal, we call on the EU to work closely with civil society organizations across Europe and beyond, to ensure that these fundamental values are respected and promoted in all aspects of EU policymaking and decision-making. We believe that civil society should have a meaningful say in shaping EU policies, and that the EU should actively seek out and listen to the voices of individuals and communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the political process.
Furthermore, we believe that the EU has a responsibility to promote these values not only within its own institutions and member states, but also in its interactions with other countries and international organizations. We believe that the EU should lead by example, demonstrating its commitment to these values in its external policies and working to promote them in countries and regions where they are under threat.
Pirates advocate a directly elected citizens’ convention tasked with drafting a new EU treaty to clarify and replace current treaties and address the need for democratic reform within the Union, provided it is accepted by the citizens of the Union through a referendum.
The present EU legislative process is dominated by the executive branch (the European Commission) at the expense of the legislative branch (the European Parliament). Pirates seek an adjustment to the balance of power in European Institutions to favour the legislative branch.
Direct democracy at EU level, i.e. pan-EU referendums on constitutional revisions and citizen-initiated legislative referendums, should be part of the new constitution. Citizens shall have the right both to repeal existing legislation and to initiate new legislation.
We, european Pirates, consider ourselves as european citizens. But, at this point the european citizenship is only an idea. Pirates want to promote this idea to reality. With this European Citizenship, we will be able to be more than French, German, Swedish but citizens with a bundle of common rights on every country of the union. We will be able to emit european passports, permetting to any european citizen to be recognize as a part of a bigger thing than their own countries, in the ideal of a without border world.
Pirates want that discussions and workshop might be open to fullfill these goals.
The European Pirate Party believes that all people living in the European Union should have the right to a real EU citizenship. This citizenship should come with an EU passport, as well as physical and digital documents that are recognized all over the EU as European citizenship.
We believe that a real EU citizenship is essential for ensuring that all people in the EU have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their country of origin. It is also a vital step towards creating a more united and cohesive Europe, where everyone feels like they belong and are valued members of the community.
Pirates want citizens to be able to have a more direct and larger impact in the policy debate and decision making process, both individually and collectively.
The European Parliament should set up an e-participation tool. Citizens should be able to publicly discuss legislative proposals, to propose amendments and to support (or vote against) proposed amendments online.
We wish to reform the EU citizens’ initiative. Data requirements shall be reduced. The European Commission should deal even with unsuccessful but interesting initiatives.
Petitioners with a significant number of supporters shall have the right to be heard in person. The European Parliament should open its doors to citizens on a regular basis in order to provide them with the opportunity to directly submit their proposals and concerns to a joint plenary session with Members of the European Parliament and Members of the European Commission. These sessions should also be open to citizens participating remotely via the internet or through social media.
The european citizens need to able to search, use and exchange the available information given by the different processes in the Europe governance. They, by this way, be able to understand and participate to the life of our european democracy. The social cost to participate need to be minimized.
The European Union shall join the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral initiative that aims to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
We believe that civil society participation is crucial for a healthy and vibrant democracy. Therefore, we are committed to promoting and supporting the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across the EU. To achieve this, we propose increasing public awareness of the importance of civil society participation and encouraging greater participation through education and outreach programs.
We propose advocating for clear and fair regulations for NGOs operating in the EU, focusing on transparency and accountability. We also suggest making it easier for NGOs to establish and finance themselves within the EU.
To encourage more organizations to engage in social and environmental causes, we believe that donations towards NGOs working for the common good should receive a special tax status throughout all EU member states.
NGOs need access to information about upcoming legislation to effectively interact with European institutions. We propose that NGOs registered in the EU get access to the actual text and prepared information to put the legislation into context. This will ensure that all stakeholders have a place at the table and access to the latest developments.
We will work to promote and showcase the important work that NGOs are already doing across the EU. By highlighting their successes, we aim to encourage more people to get involved and support their efforts. We recognize the critical role that NGOs play in areas such as environmental protection, social justice, and human rights. Therefore, we are committed to supporting their efforts and working together to build a more just and sustainable society.
The influence of money on politics is one of the key corruption risks in the EU and a threat to its democratic foundation. Political decisions will not be made in the best interests of all citizens when corporate interests are allowed to dominate.
To protect the democratic process and to make the basis of decisions transparent, Pirates call for the disclosure of the influence of interest groups and lobbyists on political decisions. Lobbying activities shall be as transparent as possible. That can be helped by making the existing lobby register mandatory, linked to a transparent calendar on the Internet. Every EU citizen should have a chance to look up with whom the elected representative met, what was the purpose of the meeting and what happened there. The whole process brings demanded multi-level controlling system needed for a reliable democracy. In addition, a legislative footprint shall be published: everyone involved in policy making shall publish their meetings with lobbyists and written input they receive. All draft bills and amendments shall be traceable to their original author.
Enforceable ethics rules and an oversight mechanism for lobbyists shall be introduced. They should prevent lobbyists from exercising undue influence.
Public officials (including Commission Special Advisers) and elected representatives (including Rapporteurs) shall not be unduly influenced by private interests in the performance of their public duties. Conflicts of interest can occur with outside activities and previous jobs, but also through revolving door cases of members of parliament, Commissioners or civil servants taking up new jobs in the private sector.
Proper rules must be put in place to ensure that relevant office holders do not have any conflicts of interest, that interests are being declared and that misbehavior is sanctioned. The European Parliament as well as the European Commission Codes of Conduct need to be reformed. Effective transparency and ethics rules are needed for Intergroups and other cross-party groups involving MEPs and lobbyists. An independent body should oversee compliance and impose sanctions where necessary. Comprehensive rules limiting the revolving-doors phenomenon shall be adopted.
Business interests shall no longer dominate policy expertise. The Commission shall introduce effective safeguards against corporate capture of expert and advisory groups, technology platforms and EU agencies. Because a vastly disproportionate number of meetings with EU officials is dedicated to big business, these meetings should be reduced and more time should be devoted to actively seeking input from citizens, SMEs and other currently under-represented interest groups.
All European political parties shall provide public insight into their bank accounts for campaign funds. The Authority overseeing European political parties shall be given effective auditing and sanctioning tools.
Transparency gives the powerless the power to monitor the powerful. Pirates believe that transparency is needed to allow the public to make democratic decisions.
Pirates advocate for general and comprehensive whistleblower legislation to protect any person who exposes issues that are in the public interest, including abuse of law, unlawful activities as well as wrongdoings. We strongly believe whistleblowers must be able to equally report internally, to a competent authority or to the media in order to guarantee the freedom of expression as well as the citizens’ right to information.
The public sector, including private entities carrying out work on behalf of a public body, must be transparent and publish information as open data by default, without applying restrictions on their re-use. Better legislative transparency is needed, particularly in the Council and in trilogues. Public authorities should have a duty to document information concerning decision-making processes. Public authorities and representatives should be obliged to keep records and proactively publish information such as their agendas, minutes of meetings, third-party documents such as lobbyist input and information justifying decisions taken.
The principle of transparency should apply to all public bodies, including the Court of Justice, the permanent representations of member states and the rotating national presidencies of the Council.
Pirates believe that it is a fundamental right of citizens to inspect, without the need for any specific justification, all contracts or financial benefits related to the delivery of public sector or government projects and services.