Delivering digital democracy

The latest initiative for instant and transnational communication

You can’t really plan for it. Suddenly it is here: D-Day. Not in a military sense, of course, but in the sense that such a decisive day can change everything. When it comes to communication and especially political communication, D-Day means the day when an issue and a process is finally put on the agenda of the many. This is what happened earlier this year, more precisely on January 22: on the evening of that winter day, Frank-Markus Barwasser, a German satirist, presented his monthly show Neues aus der Anstalt, which can mean either ‘institutional news’ or ‘stories from a psychiatric clinic’. His alias, the shabby, fast-talking Erwin Pelzig, suddenly said: “I love Europe, but now I’m seriously concerned: the Commission wants to privatise our water”.
Two days before, Michel Barnier, the EU commissioner responsible for the internal market, had announced a new directive about the liberalisation of water resources across Europe. Now, on German television, Erwin Pelzig passionately declares, “Water is a human right and should not be privatised”. Then the 53-year old former journalist put a sign on a car in the television studio, on which the following web address was displayed: This link introduced many to the concept of a European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI).

Bruno Kaufmann

Bruno Kaufmann is a trained political scientist, conflict researcher and journalist. As well as his role as President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe, he is chairman of the election commission of Falun, Sweden, and co-president of the Global forum on Modern Democracy.