Pirate Gal Becomes Youngest EU Parliamentarian
November 21, 2011 12:10 PM
Swedish MEP Amelia Andersdotter promises to battle corporate interests for IP reform
While many in America are unaware of it, the European Union recently went through a major overhaul of its government. The passage of the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon has finally gone into full effect after going "officially" into law in 2009 and struggling to be fully implemented in the time since.
Among the many important effects is a shakeup in the number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) allotted to each member state. Some states like the UK and France saw their representation shrink, while others like Sweden saw their representation grow.
An unexpected side effect of this is that
Sweden's Pirate Party
, a party founded on a platform of intellectual property law reform, gained an extra seat in the EU Parliament. The pirates scored
7.1 percent of Sweden's total votes
, which was enough to secure two seats, with Sweden's representation being bumped to 20 MEPs.
With the changes to the representative total finally complete, Pirate Party gal Amelia Andersdotter was
to the second Pirate Party seat in Brussels, home of the EU Parliament. Ms. Andersdotter was the coordinator of "Young Pirate", an international youth outreach program from the Pirate Party. She came in second to only party chairman Christian Engström in Sweden's election.
At 24 she will be the youngest representative in the EU Parliament. She was only 21 when she received the votes that would eventually put her in office. She will serve through 2014.
In an interview with
Not having to answer more questions about when I will finally get to fill my seat is what I'm looking forward to most. It feels really good that the when-question is over.
I kind of buy into this idea that the European Union is a good thing, and that closer connections between European nations both political and social are advantageous not only on the level of the prices of groceries, but perhaps even more, culturally.
It's nice to be able to say democratisation of EU governance is moving forward, that individual member states aren’t stalling that democratisation for their own nationalist purposes any more.
What I'm not looking forward to as much is perhaps the fear that I will realise most of EU governance is actually a battle between various national interests, rather than one interest in having a good, strong European Union. But it’s difficult of course. ”
The EU is a big place, and one reason people feel closest to 'their' member state is because they know most things about it. I remember the first time I was in Belgium a few years ago and the prime minister resigned and I thought 'oh no!' but another Belgian just said to me 'again?' with a deep sigh.
She says that one key challenge in the EU will be a one that's familiar to the U.S. -- to fight telecoms from bribing representatives to
outlaw the will of the public and ban municipal Wi-Fi
. She says another battle will be fighting to get member states to comply with net neutrality restrictions in the face of telecom lobbying.
MEP Amelia Andersdotter, at work [Image Source: Hannah Mälarborn/SR]
bills like ACTA
are symbolic of the past failure of the EU Parliament to stand up to corporate interests.
She comments, "I find it antagonizing that member states and their politicians try to avoid responsibility for their own failures by blaming the EU, but mostly how successful they are in doing so. When national parliaments have been saying that they can't do anything about ACTA, activists and media just kind of happily accept. What national parliaments could do, and should do, is obviously tell their national governments not to sign the agreements. That is and would be within their power."
Ms. Andersdotter has previously stated in an interview with the Lund University student newspaper that she would donate her income from serving as an MEP to charitable causes -- namely, Attac, Ordfront, and Amnesty International.
The Pirate Party has thus far failed to obtain a legislative seat in an EU member's
legislature. Where as the MEP elections appoint candidates on the basis of percentage of votes of the entire member states, national elections in most EU member states typically install a single candidate on a per-district majority vote basis. The closest the Pirate Party has gotten in that regard is scoring 9 percent of the votes in
a recent Berlin, Germany election
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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