miércoles, 30 de junio de 2010

El lobby a debate en la asamblea Parlamentaria del consejo de europa

Desde una perspectiva bastante neutral el pasado 23 de junio, en el marco de la Asamblea Parlamentaria del Consejo de Europa, se celebró un debate sobre los actores no institucionales en el sistema democrático. Mientras esperamos un resumen del contenido nos contentamos con la convocatoria que establece un marco interesante.

Wednesday 23 June 2010
Afternoon (3 p.m.-7.30 p.m.)
¨ Joint debate on the state of democracy in Europe
Extra-institutional actors in the democratic system
Doc. 12278
Report of the Political Affairs Committee
Rapporteur: Hendrik Daems (Belgium, ALDE)
Governments, parliaments, political parties and judges are no longer the only participants in a modern democracy, the Political Affairs Committee points out. Trade unions, advisory bodies of various sorts, business and other special interest groups, lobbyists and the media all play an increasingly important part in the push and pull of politics. Worryingly, groups involved in illegal activities can also wield political influence in some countries. These extra-institutional players are not new, but their scale and influence has considerably increased in recent years, partly due to the spread of new forms of communication.
The activities of some of these groups can be good for democracy, the committee points out, insofar as they encourage greater public participation, widen representation, feed expert knowledge into the public domain or provide new forms of oversight. But some forms of influence – especially when they stem from opaque special interests – are a matter for concern. Corruption or influence-peddling within political institutions is one damaging example. “Bought” media which circulate biased information to manipulate public opinion, or to serve narrow party or business interests, is another.
The answer, as always, is greater transparency, the committee believes: the people have a right to know how decisions are being made in their name, and by whom. Plurality also acts as a check on special interests: the more voices there are in the national conversation, and the more pairs of eyes watching each other, the better. The whole issue, according to the committee, needs more thought.
The Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s group of independent legal experts – should be asked to look into it, to kick-start a process of in-depth reflection within the Assembly and the Council of Europe’s own special think-tank, the Forum for the Future of Democracy.
Contact in the secretariat: Pavel Chevtchenko, tel. 3835.

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