Power to the people

by Maria on September 14, 2005

The European Parliament has just launched a fantastic new website that should be a model for any similar organisation. It has a snappy design, great navigability, and the breadth and depth to accommodate casual surfers and political hacks. The news page is particularly inviting and informative, and gives a sense of the sheer range and volume of vital issues going through parliament at any given moment. You can look up MEPs’ motions, resolutions and reports (a feature sorely missing from the old website), and also get a live video stream of the main parliamentary events of the day. There was a roundtable discussion on blogging on Monday that looked interesting – but they don’t seem to be archiving this stuff yet (I’ve emailed a question to the webmaster and will post the response in the comments thread if I get one soon enough.). Oh, and it’s available in 20 languages too.

I hope the EP can keep up the work to sustain this enormous but beautifully user-friendly website. It’s a huge step in keeping the institution closer to the people it serves. Next time you meet someone who says it’s all just too complicated and impossible to follow, give them this url. There are no more excuses for being unengaged.

Update: Oh dear, the English version homepage of the website is unavailable – teething problems, I presume. Deep links still work, so I’ve replaced the two links in this piece to the EP homepage with one to an internal page.



honkyfive 09.14.05 at 7:48 am

Sadly, either your link or the site itself doesn’t work… :)


Kevin Donoghue 09.14.05 at 7:51 am

Maybe in time it will justify your enthusiasm. When I went looking for information on the CAP this is what I got:

The requested resource (/news/public/story_page/…/default_en.htm) is not available.


Dennis 09.14.05 at 8:02 am

More here. No kind words.


Maria 09.14.05 at 8:07 am

The main page has gone down since I posted – but the rest is working. So I’ve put some deep links in instead, and will revert back once the main page is up again. Thanks for spotting that honkyfive and kevin.


P ONeill 09.14.05 at 9:08 am

the English version homepage of the website is unavailable

As we speak, fevered Europhobic tabloid minds in London are doubtless working on an explanation.


des von bladet 09.14.05 at 9:10 am

It is much fun to twiddle the langwidge codes on these, for sure.

(Dennis merely wishes to remark or observe that their markup doesn’t validate. Sigh.)


Dennis 09.14.05 at 9:29 am

Well, if the website “should be a model for any similar organisation” you can at least make sure that the markup validate. Validation isn’t just for fun, I guess.


Robin Grant 09.14.05 at 5:38 pm

Maria – here’s the report on the blogging debate – it doesn’t look like we missed much…


Maria 09.15.05 at 2:51 am

Thanks, Robin. Wow, it sounds like the debate could have been held 3 years ago, not last Monday. I saw Aidan White give a very good intervention about freedom of expression at a UN session a couple of years go – but this week’s session sounds like the usual old threatened and under-informed journalist approach to blogging. Pity.

I wonder what these people would come up with if they ever thought through their cry for blogs to be made ‘accountable’ – seems to me bloggers and commenters are held a hell of a lot more accountable by other bloggers and commenters (and other media) than the traditional media are.


Peter Clay 09.15.05 at 6:38 am

The sort of “accountability” they demand is that demanded from the BBC by Blair: not to expose the particularly embarrasing lies. To the EU, the idea that unregulated communication may be happening is horrifying. No doubt someone will start calling for quotas and filters to ensure that at least 50% of blogs read in France are in French.

Meanwhile, the UK tabloids are more concerned about “activist judges” transferring criminal law to the EU than blogging.


Maria 09.15.05 at 9:02 am

Nice straw man Peter. However, the people calling for accountability of bloggers were the journalists, not the ‘EU’, whatever that is.


Paula 09.15.05 at 12:14 pm

I’m with Dennis. The site is not based on outmoded code and design. It neither validates nor provides for accessibility. So very 1990s. If you’re looking for a model, this isn’t it.


Charlie B. 09.17.05 at 1:13 am

“There are no more excuses for being unengaged.” Right, and I’m a glass of California orange juice.


Charlie B. 09.17.05 at 1:20 am

European ParliamentPolitical Bodies: Conference of Presidents.http://www.europarl.eu.int/parliament/public/staticDisplay.do?id=45&pageRank=7The Bureau. The Bureau is made up of the President of the European Parliament, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors, with observer status, elected by the assembly for a renewable period of two and a half years….The five Quaestors sit on the Bureau in an advisory capacity. They ensure that Members have the infrastructure necessary to exercise their mandate.No attempt to de-mystify this garbage.

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