Friday 13 August 2010

Europarties: Yes to primaries for EU Commission President 2014

Conor Slowey (Eurocentric) drew my attention to the campaign for the Party of European Socialists (PES), to which he dedicated a thoughtful post on The European Citizen blog: PES primaries and a Parliamentary EU.

This made me reread the blog entry by Jon Worth as well: Campaigning for a PES primary.

This time around, I went a little bit further. I checked the Campaign for a PES Primary website, launched by Desmond O’Toole, as well as the Facebook campaign page.

A short while ago, the Facebook Campaign for a PES Primary group had already gathered 590 members, among them a number of top Eurobloggers and citizens keen to build a more democratic European Union, such as Jon Worth, Valéry-Xavier Lentz, Laurence Modrego, Martin T. Teubner and Conor Slowey.

The campaigners make the following demands:

WE want to be involved in selecting the candidate who will lead our party in 2014.

WE want to make European democracy a reality for ordinary citizens.

WE demand the holding of primary elections, involving PES party members across Europe, to select our candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I hope that all the activists of PES and members of the national social democratic and socialist parties join the Facebook group, and that the campaign is successful.

However, the party loyalists who framed the call limited the scope to members (“our party”).

As an independent outsider I hope that all constructive Europarties field candidates for the presidency of the European Commission ahead of the European Parliament election in 2014, and that they nominate their candidate through primaries.

I still value my independence to treat the political parties without second thoughts, while waiting for one Europarty (and its political foundation) to show enough leadership in EU affairs and interaction with citizens.

Although I do nothing to hide my belief in the need for a democratic and federal European Union, as a lawyer I serve entrepreneurs and individuals of all persuasions, so a party political label is not necessarily on the top of my personal agenda.

The invitation to join the campaign was one of my first experiences on Facebook, where I have taken my first tentative steps, having participated actively on Twitter for a few months before that.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly. As Eurobloggers we could and should promote interaction among Europeans across borders and between linguistic communities. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.


  1. Many thanks for your support, Ralf, and for your insightful observations on our campaign. I am delighted that this initiative is capable of reaching out beyond the PES to people who share a desire to see democracy grow in the institutions of the European Union.

    Regards ... Desmond.

    Desmond O'Toole
    Campaign for a PES Primary
    PES activists Dublin.

  2. Desmond O'Toole,

    Your initiative, when approved, is a step towards making the European Union more democratic in one, important aspect, and it can make the Party of European Socialists [and other Europarties] shoulder the tasks to "contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of the citizens of the Union".

    As you can see on this blog and on Facebook, I have returned to your campaign, and I intend to keep following it.

  3. Thank you Ralf. I look forward to reading your future observations on our campaign.



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