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Sitemap 07 the future of Countries & Democracies
European integration, as a regional variant of globalization, has produced much more dramatic change for members of the European Union than globalization has for other advanced industrialized nations, both in terms of the economy and the polity. This has in turn generated much greater challenges for EU countries with regard to national democratic governance and legitimacy than for countries affected by globalization alone. Such challenges involve not just such questions as how to adjust national economies or to adapt national institutions to EU exigencies but also how to legitimate such changes to the citizenry in terms of traditional conceptions of economic order and social justice as well as political representation and participation. In order to illustrate this, this paper considers the differential impact of the EU on three European countries, France, Britain, and Germany."> The answer, of course, is that the process of integrating member states to create a People’s Republic of Europe is entering a critical phase. Up to the present the process of building this new nation state has been confined to dull, boring, and largely invisible technical measures – mostly associated with the creation of a customs union and the single market. But with the development of the common foreign and defence policies and the introduction of the euro – where everyone in the Eurozone uses for their currency pieces of paper emblazoned with the "ring of stars" – integration is becoming much more visible. The masses are beginning to notice what is happening."> This article explores several different disciplines for what they can contribute to an understanding of the factors that influence mass media, and how the media in turn influence the political climate and the social structure.
A combination of contributions from the different disciplines shows that a fierce economic competition forces the media to produce entertaining stories that appeal to people's emotions. Preferred topics include danger, crime, and disaster, which the media select and frame in ways that are counterproductive to an optimal political allocation of danger-fighting resources. Furthermore, it makes the audience perceive the world as more dangerous than it is, and this influences the democratic process strongly in the direction of authoritarianism and intolerance. This effect is an unintended consequence of the economic structure. The fact that these mechanisms are unchecked by democratic control is a fundamental problem to our political system."> A visit to the new democracies of east and central Europe is constructive. In the endeavour to build a new state and civic society and to design arrangements for lasting democracy, local democracy assumes major importance. There are two reasons for this. First to provide counter balances within the system and, second, to create at the local level a corner-stone of the new order.

Both these things serve as reminders of the fragility of our own society. We have taken local government and democracy for granted or, worse, not even thought about it - with the consequence that it has been significantly weakened without much protest. Secondly, we do not seen any longer to view it as a fundamental building block of citizenship and democratic order.
"> Orwell sounded such a warning 56 years ago through his characters in Animal Farm: " . . . Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything--in spite of . . . the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticizing, no matter what happened--they might have uttered some word of protest . . ."
But they didn't. "> Central Europe may have not quite yet reached the economic level of the West European countries or North America and levels of consumer satisfaction may also differ, however there is one common feature Central Europeans share with the so-called advanced countries in the West: a high level of scepticism toward and disillusionment with democracy in general and democratic institutions - such as political parties, elections and parliaments - in particular. "> Despite their prevalence in all areas of economic and social life, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and their implications, continue to be largely ignored by United Kingdom political science. Yet the potential of modern ICTs to profoundly alter political, social and economic relations is extensive. This article is a brief discussion of the main themes and issues that arise from an exploration of ICTs in relation to democracy: that is, electronic democracy. It offers an introduction to the subject, and to the two following articles, each of which details specific examples and issues associated with the topic. "> In the view of the Dutch government, separation of the positions of the council and the executive (referred to below as ‘dualisation’) is first of all a means of establishing a clear division of responsibilities between the organs of local government at municipal level and, second, a necessary condition for making local democracy more accessible to new forms of participation. The roles and positions of council and executive will be clear and more recognisable, thereby promoting public debate, facilitating public accountability and allowing active scrutiny to take place. "> eGovernment is now a central theme in information society policy at all levels: local, regional, national, European and even globally.
eGovernment is a tool not a goal in itself. It should help to deliver better government in at least three ways: "> This report by the Intergovernmental Advisory Board (USA) discusses five of the reasons E-Gov is valuable to the public sector and the metrics governments use to measure the benefits of using the Internet to deliver government services. It provides a comprehensive overview of E-Gov programs around the world and an in-depth analysis of 75 state programs that were nominated for digital government awards in 2001 and 2002. "> The Dutch parliamentary system dates back to 1848. It has hardly been changed since the launch of the general right to vote in 1918. The most important problem is the fact that the Dutch system doesn't [anymore] come up with a decisive parliament and that voters can hardly or only in very indirect way influence the government and its decisions. The events of last year and the fact that the parliament is not fully operational since October 16, 2002, illustrate this clearly. Isn't it time to adjust our democratic system for the 21st century? Wouldn't a system, which supports a decisive parliament and where citizens have a much more direct influence, be of interest to the country and the people?"> The Club of Amsterdam organised a conference about the future of democracy on June 25, 2003. This report will give you a brief summary of the topics and the discussion between the panel and the participants of the Club of Amsterdam. The participants of the event filled out a questionnaire. The results are given in this report. James Dorsey (Foreign Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal) was the host of this evening."> The Convention was asked to draw up proposals on three subjects: how to bring citizens closer to the European design and European Institutions; how to organise politics and the European political area in an enlarged Union; and how to develop the Union into a stabilising factor and a model in the new world order.
Interview with Pat Cox, President of European Parliament
European Integration as Regional Variant of Globalization
Democracy in Crisis
Mass media and democracy crisis
Futures Papers : Local Democracy - Crisis or Confidence?
Democracy in Crisis - What is to be Done?
Ten Years after: Democracy in Crisis
Democracy and New Technology
Innovation of sub-national governmental level
e-Government and the European Union and Local eGovernment
High Payoff in Electronic Government
Towards a decisive democracy in the 21st century [Dutch]
Dirty feet rather than e-Government?
Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
Europe: The Dream and the Choice

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