Archive for April, 2009

PEP-NET newsletter Issue 2, 30 November 2009

30. April 2009 – 16:40 by Bengt Feil

Dear readers,

This is the second issue of the PEP-NET newsletter. This newsletter contains:

- A look back at this year’s conference marathon

- Upcoming events

- Selected articles from the PEP-NET blog

The conference marathon

The last two months have been busy for the European eParticipation community with a series of important events taking place all over Europe. PEP-NET members were present at these events and are reporting back in a number of articles on the blog:

- The eGovernment Ministerial conference took place in Malmoe. The results of this event will have major impact on the next years of development in eGovernment and eParticipation.

- Alongside the eGovernment Ministerial conference the first popular eGovernment Unconference took place.

- The first Personal Democracy Forum Europe was held in Barcelona and Rolf Luehrs shares his thoughts on the event.

- PEP-NET hosted a session and a workshop at the Future-Democracy 09 in London.

- Renate Mitterhuber shares here thoughts on the Gartner Symposium/ITXPO 2009 in Cannes.

- The empowerment of women online has been the topic of an interview done by Rolf Luehrs at the World e-Democracy Forum.

Upcoming events

The month of December is much quieter when it comes to conferences. However there is one interesting eParticipation event: On December 15th the Momentum team will host the eParticipation Conference: Current State of Play & Future Directions in Brussels. Furthermore the call for papers for the EDem conference in May 2010 in Krems has been published.

Selected articles from the PEP-NET blog

Adapting to climate change using eParticipation?

The tools of eParticipation are not restricted to participation in political processes but can also be used in other contexts. An example is the Klimzug Nord project in Germany which aims at developing strategies to adapt to climate change in metropolitan areas and incorporates affected citizens and organisations through the use of online tools.

Read the whole article

(e) Participatory Budgeting in Germany

Like in other European countries participatory budgeting is one of the most prominent examples of citizen participation in politics in Germany. More than 115 municipalities or cities are currently about to implement or have already implemented participatory budgeting projects. This article provides an overview of the development and the situation in Germany.

Read the whole article

10 principles for a Public Administration 2.0

The Italian discourse about the need for public administrations to embrace the possibilities of ICT has produced a very interesting list of ten key principles for the modern and connected public administration.

Read the 10 principles here.

Managing opensource for e-participation

eParticipation tools are developed under many different circumstances and you can find sophisticated open source solutions among them. This article poses and answers a series of questions related to the use of opensource software in eParticipation.

Read the whole article.

All the best from:

Rolf Luehrs Bengt Feil
Rolf Luehrs,

PEP-NET Coordinator

Bengt Feil

PEP-NET newsletter Issue 1, 08 October 2009-10-08

30. April 2009 – 13:38 by Bengt Feil

Dear readers,

It has already been planned for quite a while and now here it is: the very first issue of our monthly PEP-NET Newsletter!
- What’s new at PEP-NET?

- PEP-NET in numbers

- Upcoming Conferences and Events

- Selected postings on our blog
What’s new at PEP-NET?
As some of you have already heard we have successfully passed our midterm review by the European Commission. As a project partly funded by the European Commission we had to show that we achieved what has been promised in our contract. After having read our deliverables and listened to our presentation the reviewers stated that the project has made “Excellent progress and fully achieved its objectives and goals for the period and has even exceeded expectations”. Cheers!
This result is of course just motivating us to perform even better. As a first step we have now addressed is multilingualism on our blog. All our members are from now on encouraged to write also or only in their mother tongue. Read more about our hopes and expectations behind that move here.

PEP-NET in numbers
PEP-NET has currently 43 member organisations, 6 of which are Public Administrations, 12 belong to the third sector (NGO’s, Citizen Organisations), 18 are scientists or researchers and 25 are solution providers. (Apparently some belong to more than one group).
Our Facebook Page has now 233 fans and is growing quickly. We also looked at our fan base for some information. Almost 60% are working for different kinds of companies, 20% of the fans are scientists or students, 8% are journalists, 6% belong to public administrations, 4% are politicians and 2% are NGO’s representatives.
On Twitter 357 people are following us, on FriendFeed just 29. All in all we are more than happy with all the people from the different domains and countries who showed interest in our network. But we still want to grow PEP-NET.
If anybody wants to help us, why don’t you just tell the world about PEP-NET? Or if you have a Facebook account we were really happy for you to suggest your friends to become a fan: just go the page and click on “suggest to friends” on the left side menu.

Upcoming Conferences and Events
1. Berlin in October, e-democracy summit 15th -16th October 2009, Berlin, Germany

2. World edemocracy Forum 22nd – 23rd October 2009, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France

3. Venezia Camp 2009, 24th October, Venice, Italy

Selected articles on the PEP-NET blog
Digital Democracy for All?
Julia Glidden discusses the decision of Tom Steinberg ( to advise the conservative party in the UK. The article and the related comments point out both, the potential of Tom’s involvement as well as the possible problems for
Read the whole article

A huge demonstration in defence of freedom of information in Italy. The Internet’s role in the mobilization.
The acfgroup of the University of Bergamo talks about the role of the internet and social media in the organisation of real world protest which have an impact on the political decision making process. About 300.000 citizen went to the streets of Rome to defend freedom of information and the event was mainly organised using the web.
Read the whole article

How democratic countries try to control the Internet
Internet censorship and surveillance is not just a problem of dictatorships around the world but is also happening in democractic countries. This is the central argument made by Simone Gerdesmeier and Hans Hagedorn of Zebralog in their featured article. They provide an overview of the cases of online censorship in the US and European countries and provide and insight into the political disucssions and protests related to these cases.
Read the whole article

Online vote for Public Prize: European eGovernment Awards practice what we preach…
The Danish Technological Institute asks all visitors of the PEP-NET blog and readers of this newsletter to vote in the online vote for the European eGovernment Awards. Five of the persons voting for the projects will gain free admission to the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference in Malmo in Novemeber 2009.
Read the whole article

All the best from:

Rolf Luehrs Bengt Feil
Rolf Luehrs,
PEP-NET Coordinator
Bengt Feil

European Citizens’ Summit - Brussels, 11 May 2009

28. April 2009 – 11:05 by Madarász Csaba

The European Citizens’ Summit on Monday 11 May from 13h to 16h30 will take place at the Palais d’Egmont, Place du Petit Sablon, Brussels. This event is the culmination of the first phase of the European Citizens’ Consultations (ECC) 2009, a unique pan-European debate involving citizens from all 27 Member States in discussions on the future of the European Union and how to respond to the current economic and financial crisis.

European Citizens Consultation

After an introduction by Olivier Chastel, Belgium Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the citizens will present their recommendations and discuss them with:

  • Wilfried Martens (EPP)
  • Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (ELDR)
  • Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (PSE)
  • Philippe Lamberts (European Green Party)
  • José Manuel Barroso (European Commission)
  • Hans-Gert Poettering (European Parliament)
  • Mario Sepi (European Economic and Social Committee)
  • Luc Van den Brande (Committee of the Regions)
  • Alexandr Vondra (Deputy Prime Minister Czech Republic, EU Presidency)

Margot Wallstroem, Vice-President of the European Commission will then make some concluding remarks. The debate will be moderated by Pat Cox, President of the European Movement International.

For details on how to register please see the attachment. You are kindly asked to register by e-mail before Thursday 7th May as places are limited.

For security reasons, only registered participants that received a confirmation e-mail will be allowed to enter.

(How many of you heard about the citizens consultations? And how many of you have been submitting any idea to it, as citizens?)

Find your EU profile

27. April 2009 – 17:24 by e.V /

For those who haven’t decided yet on their favourite party for the elections in the European Union, 4-7 June 2009, a new interactive web feature, the EU-profiler, helps to make up your mind. The tool promises support in discovering the political landscape for the upcoming elections in Europe. However, its functionality and clickability are not free of hitches.

Read the rest of this entry »

E-democracy Workshop Association - event in Hungary

27. April 2009 – 16:29 by Civil College

With a small press coverage, about 30 participants has been enjoying various dreams, observing concrete projects and hearing different voices about e-democracy.

The association leader, Laszlo János has made clear his view on e-democracy in Hungary: although everything is present on the material plane for e-democracy, nor the civil society, nor the state realizes the potential bower that is behind the term.

The first presenter has been Madarász Csaba, one of the 2 INGO - the Council of Europe International civil society board  - representatives of the CAHDE workgroup, member of Pep-net through the CEE Citizens Network has higlighted the basic nature of e-democracy, giving concrete examples from Hungary, never tagged with e-democracy to get know the existing basics of the term. His presentation made with the Hungarian startup, introduction has been followed the CEU Associate Professor in Political Sciences, Miklos Sükösd, who has introduced the new Hungarian political movement, the LehetMásaPolitika (Politics can be different) e-campaign strategy, as a XS-size clone of Obama’s e-campaign.

Robert Puzser, a journalist has been talking about the democratic deficit, which makes the situation not to pulse around the e-factor.

Kovács Kálmán, the former Minister of Communications and Informatics, has been partly accepted the sharp critqutes around the current political culture. He has made his point vehemently clear, that the whole society is under a big change, as we have entered to the information society. After about 30 minutes, he has left, but said, it is a really important issue.

Participants has been really accepting the new philosophical challenge of a new “metaparty”, introduced by Balazs Szegfű, internet-economist from Guangxi,  which he co-run with a famous Hungarian mathematician, game researcher, László Mérő. In theory, the new generations are the possibly new political activists, who can make the change, towards a real internet-democratic enviroment. He has highlighted with numbers, that we do not need so much people to create change, but more of a well organized group of people with some daily time spent on such purposes about half an hour.

The recently introduced IDE (Internet Democracy Party) founder, Attila Bognar, a former public servant(in Balázs Szekfű’s words, the Hippy from Gyöngyös) has made their concept clear about how and why are their doing their activity - mostly avarege internet users, who make sympathy with the trikcy movement of sending 60 representatives to the EP except one, during the 60 months period of a candidate.

Imre Csizi, the founder of the term and the background of FamilyRepresentatives theory, has questioned of the Hungarian term for power (we have two meanings for power- one, is related with energy, the other one is more like the quality of power, that a king has) and gave up some intersting questions to think about in the relation of family, power and democracy.

The debate was really high after the presentations, and the warm kindness of the Intependent Media Center just right in the neighbour of the Transparency International Hungary has made the event significant.

E-Democracy.Org In The UK: The Start Of the Next Chapter?

27. April 2009 – 15:24 by Dan Jellinek

Last week, seven e-democracy enthusiasts and practitioners from the UK met in a bar/club/avant garde arts venue called the Shunt Lounge deep beneath London Bridge station (for which fascinating location, our thanks to Manar of UK Citizens Online Democracy).

We were gathered to discuss what shape the UK arm of ‘’ might take over the years to come. is a US-based non-profit founded by Steve Clift, the celebrated e-democracy pioneer and innovator and one of the true founding fathers of our field.

A few years ago, a UK government-funded project called the National Project for Local E-democracy (snappy name) brought in Steve and others at, notably Tim Erickson, to help a few UK communities develop email discussion forums to debate local issues and interact with councillors and other local decision-makers, as part of an experiment with local e-democracy. The group had already established many successful forums in the States.

Forums were duly established in Newham (a London borough), Bristol (a city in the West of England which has been a leader in local e-democracy for some years) and my own home town of Brighton. Others have since been established in Edinburgh and other locations. I and a colleague Mark Walker from the Sussex Community Internet Project were asked to lead the establishment of a small group of volunteers to run the Brighton forum, which has had its ups and downs but has certainly been an interesting trial and may still lead to further work.

Last week’s meeting however was convened in the light of all the UK government money drying up following the winding up of the national project and its successor body ICELE. The local UK issues forums are still pottering along, but there was the feeling that more could be done, and so we met to discuss what form this might take.

The following is a version of my report back to, which I thought may be of wider interest to PEP-NET members since it occurs to me that one model for the future of PEP-NET might be (at least partly) as an association of national networks such as the one we might pull together in the UK.

General points made included that:
- A lot of good work has been carried out in the UK issues forums, creating a good network of people with expertise in and knowledge of local e-democracy;

- As far as funding for future work is concerned, there will not be any more forthcoming from the government, and unlikely from councils: we must look to resource work through volunteers; raise money through grants or raise some form of corporate sponsorship;

- It would be great to involve young people in our work, adding an educational element;

- Some interesting things are set to happen in the UK with local e-petitions, and it may be we could tie in with this theme somehow as well.

Given all the above, we decided to try to meet again in a month or two’s time, and in the meantime, to collate as many ideas as possible for practical projects on how to take forward in the UK. One possible idea to start us off would be a project to write a book or create a website capturing the essence of what has been learned so far in UK issues forums. This would in essence be a collection of stories, some of success, others of failure, but all interesting and useful.

I will keep PEP-NET informed about how this project develops! It is also great news that Mary Reid, former Mayor of the London borough of Kingston, pioneer of local e-democracy including her own blogging as a councillor and mayor, and former chair of ICELE, has accepted an invitation to join Steve on the international board of (of which I am also currently a member, though struggling to find the time to do the role justice). Mary’s great energy and expertise will ensure these projects bear fruit, I feel certain.

Best wishes to all PEP-Netters,
Dan Jellinek
Headstar/E-Democracy.Org/SCIP, UK.

Unbalance citizen participation in EP elections - coded in the voting systems?

27. April 2009 – 11:24 by Civil College

This post is to highlight - although, we live in the same Europe, and have the same European Parliamentary representatives fighting for our interests (lol), the way, how they appear is really different.

In Hungary, for example only political parties can nominate EP candidates - through a list. This is somehow not only undemocratic, but if we take a look at the circumstances, they seem like artificial obstacles on the road, towards Bruxelles.

In Denmark, the situation is the same - only parties can nominate candidates (or it was a few years ago)

The first one-  collecting the needed “supporting papers”.

In Hungary, you have to collect 20.000 for each party, who would like to appear on the list - in Finland it is 2000.

In Austria, where individuals can also be candidates without the party background, 2400 is the entry, and in Holland, 25 is enough, with 25 000 krones deposit, while in Luxemburg it is 250.

The UK is really different. You need only 30 supporters, and 5000 pounds to be on the menu.

These examples are to raise the attention and the hopeful debate around the issue of equality around the EP elections.

For me, it is obvious, that there is no place for such national characteristics in European democracy, where citizens are only capable to be elected as candidates in the EP, if they are members of a political party.

If there will be a constitution, it has to address this issue clearly. My other concern is, that possibly, not the EP, nor the Commission is responsible for these kind of questions.

What is in your mind?


A Town Meeting on Biological Will in Italy

26. April 2009 – 15:20 by Francesco Molinari

For those who may not know it, the Biological Will is a written statement made by a person who is sound of mind, specifying the limits (s)he deems appropriate to establish for medical treatment, should (s)he be incapacitated to take further decisions due to the onset of a condition of disablement, with no reasonable hope of recovering intellectual integrity.

In Italy, articles 579 and 580 of the Penal Code forbid and sanction as crimes both active euthanasia (homicide of a consenting person) and physician assisted suicide (instigation to suicide and assistance thereto), though with less severe penalties than proper homicide. In spite of that, the Italians attitude to euthanasia has been radically changing in the past few years, probably due to the widespread debate on two controversial cases - the Welby affair in 2006 and the Englaro affair in 2009 - where medical treatment and/or artificial feeding were suspended of two patients for whom there was no chance of recovery.

According to a 2007 survey by the research centre Observa - Science in Society (see, 3 out of 4 Italians were in favour of the Biological Will. Quite interestingly for this country, there was no big difference between Catholics (71%) and non-believers (83%).

While the national Parliament is drafting a law on this issue, already passed on first reading in the Senate last 26th March, an Electronic Town Meeting has been arranged jointly by the City of Turin and the Regional Administration of Tuscany, which was held on 25th April, the Liberation Day in Italy. About 360 people (50% Catholics) were gathered for a full day simultaneously in two rooms, one located in Turin, one in Florence, to discuss and deliberate about three specific questions:

1) “To which extent are medical professionals to abide by a patient’s biological will?”

2) “Which limits should be set to the contents of a biological will?”

3) “How should a biological will be structured?”

The ideas, proposals and recommendations emerged from the discussion have been summarised into an instant report, distributed to all participants in the Town Meeting, and that will be handed out to the President of Republic and the legislators of the Italian Parliament in the next few days.

It should be kept in mind that the aim of a Town Meeting is not to seek agreements at all costs, but to elicit different views and interpretations, allowing a comparison among a richer and broader range of opinions. This is why the discussions were not moderated, but only facilitated, by domain experts, having the task of ensuring that sufficient information was provided to participants before and during the event.

In this case, it’s also important to stress is that the Town Meeting preparation started in March last year, with a technical document issued by a high level group of experts, summarising the state of the art on Biological Will in Italy, and which was examined across 40+ meetings and focus groups held in Piedmont and Tuscany, seeing the participation of 650+ citizens overall. The document was also distributed in 130.000 copies jointly with the most read newspaper of the City of Turin, as well as in Florence last February, and made available on a specific website (

With this event organisation, the Regional Administration of Tuscany has reached the number of four consecutive Town Meetings since 2006: the previous ones dealt with the principles of a Regional law on participation (first example in Italy), the priorities of regional health policy, and young people’s recommendation to the EU agenda on climate change and energy. More info: It was also the second time for the City of Turin, which hosted a Town Meeting on the Olympic Truce in 2006. More info:

7th Eastern Europe eGovernment Days Continue to Exceed Expectations

24. April 2009 – 18:21 by Julia Glidden

Once again Irina Zalisova and her team and European Projects and Management (EPMA) in Prague have run what has to be one of the absolute highlights of the eGovernment Conference circuit.  Hosted in the lovely Brevnov Monastery, this year’s event attracted over 100 of the top eGovernment practitioners from throughout Europe, and featured two packed days of engaging speakers and highly charged and interactive workshops.

It is hard to single out any one session – as the caliber of speakers and topics was consistently high throughout the conference.  Still, Jeremy Millard’s session on eGovernment & the Future of ICT comes to mind for not only stimulating a great deal of thought about the ‘Internet of Clouds’ but also for skillfully blending a wide array of perspectives from both the public and private sector.  Skeptical (from my Accenture days) of private sector presentations in general, I have to say that this time around the conference really was all the stronger for the voice of industry.  Wilfried Grommen from Microsoft set minds thinking with a provocative discussion of what he sees as a fundamental paradigm shift away from old ‘PCs & software’ so familiar to us all, while Sylviane Torporkoff, Partner at Items International and President of the Global Forum, kept us all alert and engaged with a rousing tour de force of varying global approaches to eGovernment.

As I write, I am conscious that this entry reads like a bought and paid for advertorial.  As one who is generally weary of the ‘same old, same old’ conference scene, I can assure you it is not.  In my view, the 7th Eastern Europe eGovernment continues to stand out – not just because it is located in the wonderful City of Prague (which this year was blessed with some wonderful weather) but also because it remains true to a genuinely winning formula:  engaging speakers, relevant and timely topics, and a committed and engaged audience.

Congratulations to Irina and her team.  I’m already looking forward to next year!



Internet Democracy Party in Hungary

23. April 2009 – 10:38 by Civil College

There are quite new “applicants” in this years EP elections all over Europe - small-big European parties now eligible Europewide for nominating candidates for the elections (for example

One, not among these bigger players has recieved attention in Hungary, by offering internet demorcacy, as a way and basic construction for representation.

By the volunteers run campaign, the party emphasizes, that they are planning to win one seat - and send each month one person from the supporters. It means, that by a number-generator method, 60 average citizen will have the opportunity to be a representative in the EP during the 5 years.

The concept of representation is simple - the party would like to develop from certain part of the salaries of the representative a system, which will make eligible the pary-community to influence directly the representative through a secure voting system.

Their presence in the politica arena two important things - people, without the knowledge of scientifical terms and concepts of e-democracy and e-participation (I know they don’t have) are reinventing things on their own way, only by “mirroring” internet to governance structures. The second thing is that people are seem to be open for these kind of political flicks.

Do you have any similar example in your country?