28th Oct 2016

'Pirates' to run joint campaign in next EU elections

  • Pirate-party-decorated statues in Brussels (Photo: Didier Misson)

'Pirate' parties from around the EU have agreed to campaign as one bloc and to try and form a group in the European Parliament in the 2014 elections.

The decision came at a congress of the so-called Pirate Parties International, a Brussels-based NGO, in Prague over the weekend.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The Prague conference is the first step in the joint campaign for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament ... Key issues for the pirate parties are transparency, an open state and better communication with the citizens," Mikulas Ferjencik, the deputy head of the Czech pirate faction told AFP.

The PPI meeting also admitted two new pirate parties (from Greece and Slovakia), debated how to bring down the international anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta, and issues such as "nerd-fatalism" and "nerd-determinism" - defined by one speaker, respectively, as "politics are shit so I don't participate" and "whatever law you make, I'll hack around it."

Originally named after an Internet file-sharing site called 'The Pirate Bay' back in 2006, pirate parties have surged in popularity in Austria and Germany in recent months.

A poll by broadcaster RTL in March recorded support for German pirates on 13 percent, in third place after the centre-right Christian Democrats and the centre-left SPD, but way ahead of government coalition partners, the liberal FDP party.

FDP foreign minister Guido Westerwelle in an interview out on Monday in Handelsblatt described the movement as a threat to German foreign policy in terms of protecting intellectual property in countries such as China and Russia

In Austria, a pirate party on Sunday (15 April) got almost four percent in regional elections in Innsbruck, gaining seats for the first time in a regional assembly.

Pirate parties currently exist in over 50 countries worldwide, including Belarus and post-Arab-Spring Tunisia, and in all but one - Malta - EU member states.

The last EU elections in 2009 saw two Swedish pirate candidates win seats in Strasbourg - 42-year-old Christian Engstrom and 24-year-old Amelia Andersdotter, the youngest member of the assembly. They joined the Green group and are members of the industry, legal affairs and internal market committees, as well as delegaions to south-east Asia and Korea.

In a potential foretaste of things to come, the pair have diligently attended plenary sessions and voted in line with Green party positions.

Engstrom has drafted one report: on the 'Internet of Things,' the practice of giving digital tags to physical objects, such as export products or household appliances, so that they can be monitored or controlled online.

The two MEPs have shown an interest in amendments, resolutions and parliamentary questions on a list of subjects which goes beyond Internet issues such as Acta and Wikileaks, and includes civil liberties in Burma, the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East, the salaries of EU officials and civil liberties in Hungary.

EU myth-busters set for budget upgrade

One year after its launch, East Stratcom, the EU’s “tiny” counter-propaganda cell, has created a 20,000-strong following and could get a €1 million budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersUN global sustainable development goals, integration, and security on agenda for Nordic Council Session 2016
  2. Taipei EU OfficeTaiwan Seeks to Join Fight against Global Warming
  3. ANCI LazioAnci Lazio Definetely has a lot to Celebrate This Year
  4. EU-China ForumDebating the Future of the EU-China Relations on 28 November in Prague
  5. COMECEMigrants: From Fear to Compassion
  6. Birdlife EuropeBusiness as Usual - Juncker Snubs Environment and Protects Broken CAP
  7. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  8. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  10. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  11. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  12. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament

Latest News

  1. Calais children abandoned at former camp site
  2. Greece to probe UN allegations of illegal returns
  3. Poland defies EU on rule of law
  4. Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock
  5. Left MEPs thwarting Dieselgate probe, say right MEPs
  6. Cars should be allowed to exceed emissions limits, say experts
  7. EU case against Google is bad for developers
  8. Privacy activists mount court challenge to EU-US data pact