Monday, January 18, 2010

EUROPA writes a letter

I have always been passionately European, but it turns out, that I know hardly anything about Europe, so it is a good thing that I can find out on the EUROPA site. Helpful as the site already is, it turns out, that it will not always give me results. Have a look:

Below this 12 documents were listed, but I also wanted to be able to look at the legislation, so I clicked Eur-Lex. Here is the result:

So I did try again, but this time I used a reference number I found next to 'amflora' on the EUROPA search results and bingo!

But this is cumbersome to say the least. So it is a relief to find that the site managers of EUROPA have written an open letter to the incoming EU commissioners and president Barroso, suggesting changes to the site.
We will need a major shift in attitude to break away from the one-way, top-down communication culture, still prevalent in many parts of the organisation, and develop an in-house communication culture that encourages and empowers staff across the organisation to use the internet to interact with people.

Imagine what it must be like to think of a potato with the deceptively pretty name of amflora as EH92-527-1, and the documents that regulate this potato as 52007PC0813 and 52007PC0336. Will it distort your perception? And this is just one example. What about issues concerning asylum seekers or seasonal workers? I could not empathise with a reference number for the life of me.

So I wholeheartedly agree with kosmopolito's comment on this letter:
I think it is a very good initiative. There are a lot of opportunities for EU institutions by engaging with web tools. Unfortunately there is still a rather widespread skepticism among politicians and officials despite a few good examples how to use web 2.0 tools successfully. Hopefully this letter will contribute to a rethink in the institutions. Moreover, this would also be a good topic to bring up during the Commission-designate hearings in the European Parliament this week…
To express my enthusiasm I simply had to see what it looked like in wordle - in patriotic colours, of course.

I'm glad that I found the letter thanks to a retweet by #bueti.

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