by Sven Triloqvist
Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:03:42 AM EST
The pre-launch version of a website that has been created for the Swedish People's Party in Finland is now available for your review. It will be publicly launched later next week. We are still tweaking it. And we still have to set up the cascading styles for print out. But we should be ready with the fully functioning beta by Tuesday (including the link to the SPP main site in English).
Promoted by whataboutbob
I first proposed the idea of such a website here at ET in June 2008. There were many useful comments; for which, thanks. I continued to study official EU sites in my spare time for a couple of months after that, and collected and collated what I thought were the key official descriptions. But even with severe winnowing it was still something like 14.000 words and seemed like an impossible and unrewarding spare time task.
Then some other parts slipped into place. I began consulting with a new gonzo coding company on other fairly radical community/political projects, and another group of close colleagues in Sweden and Finland secured a long-term contract to examine the communications process (among other aspects) of the Swedish People's Party. I then wrote a proposal for the website as part of their EP election campaign which was enthusiastically accepted. The SPP was also persuaded that the website would not be heavily branded as their own. In Finnish media, (in Swedish and Finnish) their involvement will be quite clear, and these are the direct audiences. The English version is their contribution to better understanding of the EP and how it relates to the other EU institutions.
Here's the link to the beta version: How the EU Parliament works
How the EU Parliament works' is intended as a very simple overview for a general audience, with the one-page design conveying the idea that the EU as an organization is `graspable'. In this simplification, a lot of nuance is lost. We also don't address Lisbon. This is the EU as it is before the next elections for the EP. We do have a proposal for implementing an expanded Stage II, but that will depend on the attention that this first version gets. While this new site may not be a perfect solution, it is amazing that the EU has not seen the need for a simple overview of this type.
The texts and buttons can all be found by search engines, so after 2 weeks of indexing by these engines we hope to appear prominently in search lists - especially when searched in Finnish and Swedish. There are 3 language versions. The translations are complete for these, but we are still awaiting proofreading from the party, before opening them up. The Party will make the site available to social liberal partners in their EP group for local translations, if there is demand. I am still waiting for an answer from them on putting it out under a CC licence.
From the point of view of the Swedish People's Party - a pro-EU and pro-Europe party (though with plenty of criticism of how it works) - they need to reach out to Social Liberals in Finland beyond the language barrier. The party is going through some changes: perhaps one might call them generational changes. The party will almost certainly lose its single EP seat. The expansion of the EU has cut the number of MEPs assigned to Finland from 14 to 13, and the PR numbers do not favour this party. But this site is one example of their commitment to the EU, getting out the EP vote, and thinking about a greater bottom-up openness.
Responsibility for any factual mistakes can be laid at my door.