The Democratic Society (Demsoc) works for more and better democracy, where people and institutions have the desire, opportunity and confidence to participate together. Anthony Zacharzewski shared with YourThought.eu about the merits of the European Union. The impact of the Internet and social networks has put into question the definition of European or national according to geography or borders. Nevertheless, “the EU will succeed if it can provide a sound social and democratic platform for these multiple overlapping identities in which we live”.
“The European Union gives people a citizenship as Europeans that extends and enhances their national citizenships. The softening of national frontiers that Schengen and Euro have brought about makes it easier for people to feel local wherever they are. Across large parts of Europe, you can travel and feel part of a broader community, without having to worry about your passports or the leftover guilders in your pocket. Looser national borders also allow cross-border communities to flourish, for example in the Catalan and Basque areas across the French/Spanish border.
This is in line with the other great social development of the 21st century, the rise of the Internet and the network society. No longer as community something that is essentially defined by geography. Now you can be part of the community of interest, campaigning community, or stay attached to your hometown even though you work or live thousands of kilometres away.
The EU will succeed if it can provide a sound social and democratic platform for these multiple overlapping identities in which we live. It will have to stand up to the campaigns of those who want to force people into single national identities. It will have to understand how to work locally as well as at European level, and make something real and everyday out of the ambition ‘united in diversity’”.
Anthony Zacharzewski – The Democratic Society
Anthony Zacharzewski is an international leader in democratic innovation and government reform. After fourteen years in strategic roles in UK central and local government, he founded the Democratic Society in 2006 to develop new approaches to democratic governance that are better suited to the 21st century. In growing the organisation from kitchen table to a team of fourteen, he has worked with government at every level from village council to European Commission, and on projects in Serbia, Ireland, France and the UK. Equally at home in senior government settings or running public workshops, he is part of a global network of democracy and government innovators. He is a regular contributor at the Club of Venice (the association of heads of government communications of the EU member states), SEECOM (South Eastern Europe Communications Network), the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy, the Scottish Government’s Democratic Renewal Group. He is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and the Egmont Institute (Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.