German Pirates prepare for European Elections 2014
On Saturday and Sunday the Pirate Party of Germany will convene in Bochum, North-Rhine Westfalia for their last general assembly before the European elections in May.
While the meeting will also allow a small amount of time for the completion of the election platform, the main focus will be on the election of candidates for the European Parliament.
The threshold for German candidates to gain seats is at a mere 3%. In addition a case against this threshold, which was only recently created by Germany’s long-established parties, is still pending at the constitutional court. Should a verdict be reached before the elections, the minimum percentage might be as low as 1.1% – the factual calculated threshold due to Germany’s 96 seats in the European Parliament. So it does not come as a surprise that there is a long list of applicants for the European list.
Europe is an important political level for the Pirates. The EU is often perceived as intransparent, succumbing to lobbyist influence or just plain far away from the people in Europe. To challenge intransparency and to open up government processes for all citizens to see is a core Pirate goal. The European elections are a great opportunity to communicate this to the voters.
That is why several potential candidates have initiated a pledge for transparency and good conduct which they will abide by should they be elected. This pledge has since been signed by most German candidacy applicants, as well as a lot of Pirate candidates from all over Europe.
Furthermore, many other Pirate topics are decided at the EU level. This includes copyright, data protection, net neutrality and to a certain extent civil liberties in general.
Many PPEU member parties, including PPDE, have already given a green light to PPEU’s Common European Election Programme (CEEP), or at least a relatively recent draft of the text. The final version of CEEP will be presented to the PPDE assembly this weekend and is likely to be passed.
As the election platforms for European elections are nonetheless officially still done individually by country, any time left at the PPDE assembly will be dedicated to complementing the election platform. The Pirates will have a number of alternatives to choose from, most of which are ultimately based on texts created and improved in months of late-night mumble sessions of a party-wide initiative to create the election programme and working groups, such as Working Group Europe and many others.
One motion distinguishes itself from the classical approach of detailed programmatic texts. While it takes up some content from the other motions, it proposes a very brief text of roughly one page to serve as the complete election programme (in additon to the CEEP). The argument goes that this way voters might actually read the text in whole.
Whether or not the German Pirates wish to pursue this novel approach to their election campaign remains up to the general assembly. This will probably be the most significant choice to be made on the coming weekend besides the election of the candidates for Europe.
Featured Image CC-BY-SA Pirate Times, created from: “Der Bundesparteitag der Piratenpartei in Bochum (Panorama)” , CC-BY-SA flickr user ubiquit23; the logo of PPDE’s first general assembly of 2014, CC-BY-SA Piratenpartei Deutschland; “European Flag” (), CC-BY flickr user rockcohen
About Paul Wardenga
I am a political science grad student at the University of Cologne with my interest focused on issues of European integration and EU politics. I’m trying to channel my activities within the Pirates accordingly, hence topics related to these issues will make up a large part of my work for the Pirate Times as well.