What would be a european pirate party ?

To help translating in other languages of the EU, please go this direction, thanks :) Déjà en français ici and auf Deutsch.

I propose to distribute the roles as follows : a lower chamber, made out of individuals, an upper chamber, made out of delegates of the local parties, and an executive, elected by the lower chamber and approved by the upper one. Below are the details, some justifications, and a sketch of the realisation.

  1. Division of labor

    1. Repartition of tasks between chambers
    2. Repartition of tasks inside chambers
  2. Modus decidendi

    1. The demographic factor
    2. How to measure and rank pirate activity
  3. Why not go for something completely different ?

    1. Goal of a european pirate party
    2. Cooperate, collaborate, mutualize !
    3. Innovation
    4. Balance of powers
    5. Transparency and participation
    6. About national minorities
    7. Nationalisms
  4. How would it look like concretely ?

Division of labor

Repartition of tasks between chambers

The tasks of the lower chamber would be to discuss and vote the programm, and to elect the executive.

The executive would be tasked with the moderation of the discussions in the lower chamber, with the representation of the pirate party, and should keep abreast the MEPs and the press about the debates and positions on the current topics.

The upper chamber would do the shuttle between the lower chamber and the local parties.

This upper chamber would have a veto right in order to regulate the disagreement cases between the european pirates and a majority of national parties (or a big enough minority, like a third). This veto right would come along with the obligation of the formulation of one or more alternatives proposals. To propose new motions on their own, members of the upper chamber would participate to the lower one just like everybody.

Said another way, the main role of the lower chamber would be decision, the one of the upper chamber synchronisation between lands, regions, and the lower chamber, and the one of the executive would be representation.

Repartition of tasks inside chambers

Inside both chambers, it should be possible to create specialized workgroups which would speed up the realisation of tasks.

Thus, it should be possible to create adhoc commissions, to which each member could participate on a voluntary basis. Those commissions should study propositions, turn them into motions, establish arguments for or against those propositions, and should give some vote recommendation.

To organize those commissions as fluently as possible, the german system of liquid democracy seems to me the most relevant one, at least to manage the lower chamber.

In order to facilitate the communication between local or european members of parlament, the executive will be tasked with weekly reports on the latest popular propositions and on the other news of both chambers. Those public reports will first be destinated to members of parlament, but should also be used by individual members and the press to gain some overview of what is happening in the party.

Modus decidendi

The demographic factor

Members of the upper chamber would represent (alone or in groups) their own country. Since not every country are equal in terms of population size, a ponderation scale should be constructed on this criterion. The standard scale woud be : each country has at least one vote, and above that each country has as many votes as he has inhabitants. Thus, Germany would have 82/500=16,3 voice, and Malta would have 1.

Another attractive system would be some kind of Jagiellonian compromise, as can be seen below :


For more information, a complete scientific study is avalaible there (pdf).

How to measure and rank pirate activity

Intuitively, this standard scale should be weighted by a second scale, which would be indexed on the number of members of the pirate party proportionnally to the size of the population of a country.

The problem is, such measurements are completely artificial.

Thus, one could decide that the «piratest» country should have an advantage of 27 points, and the least pirate, only one point more. 27 refers to the number of member states, but de facto, this is arbitrary. Why not a scale from 0 to 100 ? And what about the compatibility of this scale with the former one ?

One could also decide that the most pirate contries have a bonus of 10 points, the lesser ones having -10, with of course all intermediaries. But then, why not ±20 ?

As one can see, index the weighting of the national parties on their activities would require a second scale, and the joining of both scales would be totally abitrary and without common measures with the former one. Not very consensual.

Then, it seems to me reasonable not to index the weights of the local pirate parties on anything else that the size of their population.

But this is a problem, because France for example, could’nt justify via its pirate activity to weight 12,3 points. But this problem can be compensated by a lack of weighting of individual voices in the lower chamber. Then the most influent countries in this chamber would be automagically the most active, without nationality being for so much the most important criterion in this chamber.

That would signify that the role of the upper chamber would be, besides cooperation, to ensure the respect of the national interests, while it would not be the goal of the lower chamber, permitting thus an easy transnational collaboration.

Why not go for something completely different ?

Goal of a european pirate party

Unity is strenth, and unions happen only through compromises. Plus : the wider an union is, the stronger it is.

This has two consequences :

To strengthen the European Union, and the cooperation between parties, one should prefer institutions which favour compromises, typically those where the choice of the whole is the one of the majority. The European Union already understood that, since a significant part of the decisions are taken by the majority and not unanimously.

That way, separatists can always separate, but are hold in minority.

Such a goal is no coquetry.

At the global level, during the creation of the European Stability Mecanism, one could observe how important it is to speed up decisions that decisions be taken by the majority and not unanimously. I here only consider the institutionnal problem and not the questionable content of the treaty (even if some unanimity is required in order to launch it).

At the european level, in the majority of the european countries, the legislative competence gœs directly to Europe or is shared between Europe and its member-states, for a very large amount of domains. If pirates don’t decide themselves to efficiently act at the european level, they’ll stay some folkloric protest movements from some lost regions of the Union, be it Sweden, France, Catalogna or Poland.

For example, to fight against the illegal data processings of Google or Facebook, it is much more efficient to act at the european level if one wants to be able to have an impact on the policies of the american giant.

Another example, with a more social perspective : Europe would have every interest to put the pressure on its members in order to harmonize its social policy from the top, to avoid social dumping inside the union. This kind of measure can only be defended efficiently at the european level.

To summarize, if the pirates want to be efficient in their own national policies, and want to truly defend a democratic project at the european level, a strengthened cooperation or even the collaboration of pirates is to be compulsory.

This, as explained below, is not to be sustained by some episodic delegate meetings, but necessitate for reasons of efficiency, transparency, innovation, power balance, reject of nationalisms, and respect of the national minorities, that a truly democratic european party exists.

Cooperate, collaborate, mutualize !

I just said that it seems important to me that the european pirates strongly unite. The formula is vague, by design.

The european pirate party could either serve the purpose of cooperation of national pirate parties, or serve to the collaboration of european pirates, which are two related but different things.

It seems to me that the interest of the national or regional pirate parties is not that they create their programms on their own, without cooperating with the other european parties, to cooperate only afterwards, by comparing with the other european pirates what they have in common. This would establish as programms the lowest common denominator, and it is not in the interest of the whole, even if it is what could happen.

To the contrary, national pirate parties have every interest to work together as much as possible, as early as in the beginning of the redaction of their programm, id est, to collaborate to reach the most common denominator.

The mutualization of efforts has several advantages :

Besides the cooperation of parties, be it only for the sake of efficiency, one should then collaborate. And it has to seem obvious that parties collaborate as the better as their individuals members work together. In fact, what are parties except their members ? The european pirate party would be the place by excellence of this collaboration.

This dœs not prevent national or regional parties from deciding not to follow the european pirate party for a part of their programm, or even to get out the alliance. They are paramount at home.

But if the parties follow their interest, leaving an alliance is not what they’ll do first.


Preventing individual participation would hamper innovations and the dynamism that any political party need to exist. This is a secret for no one that the first innovators are the individuals and not the established institutions, because they rather have interest that nothing change in order to preserve their monopoly.

This principle is as valid in politics as in economics, and the fervent defense of the pirates of all countries of the individual liberties as well as their fight against the majors in the music industry makes me believe that they already know this principle.

Transparency and participation

Preventing individuals from participationg or defending that the european pirate party should only be a coalition of national or regional parties (therefore excluding individuals), as is sometimes asserted on the PP-UE mailing-list, would have as consequence a lack of transparency and a deficit of participation. I already explained my view on this subject in another previous post.

Yet, the european pirate party should nevertheless be there to develop and defend european projects, and that is not trivial. A lack of democracy would then not be harmless.

Power balance

In a previous article, Mattias Bjärnemalm defines four groups which will be interested by the creation of a PP-EU. These groups are national and regional parties, individuals pirates, MEPs, and regional/national MPs.

Each group has its own interest, and those have to be preserved. This is what I am trying to do by trying to favour the collaboration of the greater number at the european scale.

Concerning national minorities being european majorities

It can be, and would even be normal, that representatives or delegates of the national parties be stung : Don’t they represent legitimatelly their own party, as delegates which are most of the time elected ?

This is not the question. Of course the elected delegates are legitimate.

This said, they don’t represent for so much every trend in their party. It is completely possible that in Poland and in France, some national minorities would agree with national majorities in Italy, Germany, England and Spain.

What to do then ? Neglect the national minorities and force those minorities to secede en bloc with their party ?

Obviously, this would be unjust for those minority pirates. Only those belonging to the majority, which firmly disagree with the rest of the european pirates, should secede, and the national minorities should have the possibility to work with the others.

Yet, only a party open to individuals could allow for the having a say of those national minorities.

Inversely, it would be also unjust that an assembly of european pirates vote decisions that be refused by a majority or a strong minority of national majorities. That’s why this is also important that the upper chamber have a veto right against the lower chamber.


A simple meeting of national delegates won’t bring much because

We just saw above that the question of the repartition of weights is delicate, because if in the current state of the european pirate parties, indexing the weights of the national votes on the sizes of populations is not completely justified, weighting those weights lead to arbitrary evaluations.

Another solution would be «one country, one voice». Said another way, each one has a veto right on everything and anything.

In this case, paralysis would watch for the european pirate party, and that would lead to the bursting of the european pirate party into circumstancials subgroups. The european programm would be brought back to the lowest common denominateur, which gœs tendencially to the nothingness in a diversified european union.

This is not because pirates have nothing in common. Of course, they defend transparency of the political life, liberty on the Internet, fight against monopolisms, and so on. But as soon as one comes into details, or gœs outside the foundational scope of the Pirate Parties, the devil of discord will be awoken, and then, to camp on nationally already elaborated decisions is a bad choice, when the possibility of finding majorities at the european level exists.

Wanting to decide of everything at home is of course kind of a rational choice, and therefore to be understood and respected. But in my opinion this is also anti-european.

Thus, it is not surprising that on the mailing-list of the PP-EU, these are mostly englishmen who defend the unanimous vote, once seen that England is not really part of Europe neither of America, and because of that jealously preserve its (relatively illusory nowadays) independence. To be more precise, what I mean here is that England would surely be more integrated in the EU if there were no Commonwealth or USA, since England is kind of a bridge between those sets.

How would it look like concretely ?

The three organs could use the tools they want to accomplish their day-to-day tasks, while keeping in mind the constraints of transparency, decentralization and multilingualism.

Fora, mailing-lists and so on should be either public, either open to any member the pirate party.

Discussions should be mostly lead in writing, because multilingualism is simpler that way. It should be noted that translators would be of the higher importance, in order to permit to as many people as possible to participate. Translators teams should be introduced for both chambers and the executive, and members should translate as much as possible their own writings.

Meanwhile, I already could remark that translinguistic discussions are sometimes perfectly understandable, on Presseurop.eu for example.

Concerning the vote, the most probable is that we move toward multi-conferences where each attendee is a local assembly which transmits its results to the others. That way, voting is public (in each room and via the conference) and therefore safe, but not every vote is necessarely stocked by Google, thus avoiding the filing of each vote.

Finally, since the european pirate party which is presentend here before all serves the purpose of mutualization of the efforts at the european level, there is no need to found again every national party or to wait for the participation of purely european pirates.

There are no purely european pirates. There only are national pirates which collaborate at the european scale, in order to build a project that be as much as possible as european as national.

About the logo : see the propositions of the author.

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