Online polling finds new currency with the EU

Our own 2 Euro efforts

The European Commission communicated with the people today. In fact, it launched an online poll, asking us to vote on the design of a commemorate 2 EURO coin. The coin will be released on 1 January 2009 to mark the 10 year anniversary of the Euro.

I’ve never seen an online poll of this nature being launched by the Commission before and I can’t help but think that this could be a useful way to sell the EU concept to the average man-on-the-street. And at last a bit of direct democracy in action. Actually, couldn’t the same principle be used to decide the fine details of legislation? But then again, asking the public to choose the exact auctioning percentage allowance given to industry under an emissions trading scheme probably wouldn’t catch the public’s imagination.

Also is this a dangerous game by the Commission, given the new Lisbon Treaty provisions regarding citizen petitions? If a million people suggest one coin design, win or lose, surely the Commission will legally have to consider it.

Anyway, back to the poll and I’d like to make four points:

Firstly I’ve had to enter my details to vote even though a key democratic principle of voting is that it is anonymous. However, there is a trade-off. By registering my details, I get entered into a prize draw for a high-value set of euro collector coins. I wonder how high “high-value” is. The world’s most expensive coin – the ‘double gold eagle’ coin – was sold in the US in 2002 for almost £5 million. Who knows, in a 500 years, maybe this commemorative EURO coin will be worth the same.

Secondly, coin number 5 is clearly the best.

Thirdly, I’m surprised that UK citizens are allowed to vote. A pre-requisite for choosing the coin must be that you can actually use it in your country. Plus shouldn’t we expect a potential sabotage as UKIP members vote en masse for the coin number 4, clearly the least inspiring.

Fourthly, I’m a little bit disappointed that I can’t submit my own design. One EU step at a time I guess…


Jon Worth » Blog Archive » Citizen Coin
February 01, 2008 | 11:28 AM

[...] has launched an online poll to allow citizens to vote for their favourite 10-year coin design. Public Affairs 2.0 has some additional analysis, speculating on whether the Commission might have to adopt the design from the web vote if 1 [...]

Jon Worth
February 01, 2008 | 10:51 AM

I went for coin 5 as well... Problem is that their technology is a lit ropey - it was 12 hours before I received the e-mail to confirm my vote. It's a fun initiative though.

February 01, 2008 | 10:17 AM

Now, the question is: how democratic is it really, if the only people who hear about this online poll might well just be those who are already actively engaged in EU affairs (e.g., monitoring EU press releases on a regular basis or reading EU blogs)? I scanned three online editions of a few dailies from different EU member states this morning and also did a Google News search in several languages, intently looking for any information on this online vote and the (I did, however, find out that Malta used sms polling as one of the tools to choose its euro coin design.) In any case, this is indeed a good effort by the European Commission to communicate with EU citizens and we should at least recognise that (those I told about it seemed to enjoy the idea and opportunity to participate), but maybe the EC should try a bit harder to make sure that what it's trying to communicate actually gets out there. But let's give them a bit more time and see if any media pick up the story in the next few days... be it through bloggers, or actually through an official EU communications outlet! By the way, the deadline to vote is 22 February... and I would pick design number 2.