by Sven Triloqvist
Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 09:52:32 AM EST
This is a down and dirty first attempt at what an interactive map of the EU organization might look like. The idea is the result of a short discussion with Migeru.
The basis of the idea was that your ordinary EU citizen has a very hazy notion of how the EU works. A map can often help people to visualize complex subjects - and we know they are not going to read Treaties.
I tested some facts out on a bunch of generally intelligent Finnish dinner guests last night - all business people in different sized companies, with one military guy. It was clear from the answers to my questions that they knew even less than I do. Even such simple questions as 'How many countries are there in the EU?', or 'How many MEPs does Finland have?' or 'Which country has the most MEPs?', met with embarrassed silence.
So there is work to be done.
I started out by showing the number of countries, their names and how many MEPs they have, and the main institutions. The map above is just a preliminary sketch of that. But it will be hard to incorporate very much more information without visual overload.
The idea forming in my mind is that, as a service to Europe, we could build an ET sister website that contained an interactive 'map'. The base map would be very simple, but different items would be clickable buttons that produced pop-ups with more information. So for instance, clicking on a country box would show the vital statistics of that country. Clicking on 'The Commission' would produce the vital statistics of that body and so on.
And, as Migu pointed out, we need to show the relationships between the components: eg that the Parliament consults on the President of the Commission, gives approval of the full Commission and can censure the Commission.
It is complex. It won't be easy. But IMO very worthwhile if it helps ordinary citizens to understand how the EU works. And we have all the skills here at ET to create it. So it is over to you. Let me know what you think.
There are mistakes in the map above. Denmark eg has only 14, not 24 MEPs. But I am putting this up in its raw state because I'd like some input before working on it further.
The information I have used comes from this site, which was the most succinct description of EU institutions that I could find.