Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
A vague similarity with the way the French "Communautés de Communes" are being built up is the reliance on indirect democracy.

With the population boom of the 20th century, and the very small nature of the French municipalities, the larger agglomerations now contain many commune - maybe 500 for the Paris area, and dozens for the larger provincial towns. Many public service, that'd make no sense to operate at the municipality level in those agglomeration - water, garbage disposal, public transportation, stadium building, etc... - are operated at the communauté de commune level, in an institution that shares the tax base of the individual municipalities.

It's the mayors that rule those institutions ; but as citizens, when electing mayors, don't necessarily take into account the projects of the communauté. And are surprised when their municipality gets chosen to build the local garbage dump.

The problem is, again, the indirect democracy that is also found at the European level. How many voters take into account what the candidates will do in secondary functions, such as what the president will do as the European senator ? There can be many much more pressing issues to determine oneself on.

Hey, how may people actually even know of the Council of the EU ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2008 at 07:06:20 PM EST
how may people actually even know of the Council of the EU ?

Talking to people about the Blair petition, I realize that very few know. And explaining it is not easy.

It also tends to get confused with the Council of Europe.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 03:06:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indirect democracy means that people don't even try to understand what they don't have a voice in : it becomes part of them.

The EU won't gain much legitimation as long as it remains an unelected, unknown them. And legitimation ultimately has to come from the people voting...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 03:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What you say suggests that communes need to be eliminated, as they are no longer the relevant administrative unit.

Which is of course impossible as long as politicians have jobs anc prestige that they want to keep. Thus the indiract way around this, by creating new roles that slowly take over roles.

In the case of _communautés urbaines8 I think that people understand reasonably well how they work, and there is a balance in that typically the main city will represent about 50% of the overall population and thus there is a natural balance between the core and the suburbs.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 03:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this suggests that some functions should be transferred at the European level, with the attendant political responsibility and accountability, ie elections. But we face the same problem that national politicians do not want to relinquish any of their powers.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 03:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I totally agree with you. That's the reason why Attali's proposal to get rid of the départements was doomed to fail: to many politicians are opposed to this reform.

The only way to achieve such a reform is to empower the regions and the communities of municipalities (like urban communities or "pays"). One way to do so would be to elect the executive bodies of these communities through universal suffrage. Taken in a "pincer" between two local authorities with a greater democratic legitimacy, the département would slowly fade away.

This reform was proposed in the first draft of the "Chevènement law", but it was dropped due to an intense lobbying of the conseillers généraux (elected representatives of the départements). The Socialist Party didn't have the political guts to maintain it.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 05:44:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not that sure people understand how communautés de communes work all that well. And particularly, that during the campaign, the programs really point out what will happen among the communauté half as much as what will happen within the commune.

The small commune as a social relationship utility ; the scale of a few hundred to a few thousand people gives rise to a useful political entity, which should see its role in very local matters clearly delineated with those of the communauté. For example, this a proper scale at which to introduce direct and/or participative democracy. Quartier administration in larger Municipalities could have that role.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 09:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see why each communaute de communes could not have a popularly-elected assembly.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 09:44:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean, apart from the politicians liking the whole "indirect democracy" thing that gives them more power, more important positions to share, more indemnities ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Feb 11th, 2008 at 04:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series