20th May, Brussels - 5711 european candidates in a database, 11 NGO defending different interests and 6 month of collaborative and hard work! This is the result a EP2014.org. A database that relies on CiviCRM, an open source CRM, which is already used by several of NGOs across the world.
In september, several NGOs that were planning to set up some manifestoes and pledges decided to bring together their forces to defend different issues from environmental interest to lobbying transparency. Over the months, a coalition consisting of Democracy International, ALTER-EU, Transport and Environment,ILGA-Europe, CAN Europe, EDRI, Oxfam, Save The Children, EPHA, Concord, ATM and Transparency International was born.
Each NGO was designed as responsable of one or several European countries. With its local partners, she had to find the contact details of the candidates within these countries and then share the data with the members of EP2014. A database that contains a form enabling the candidates to sign, a validation work flow for the signatories and a way to display the result following (map of Europe, list per country…).
Each week, the members of the coalition had a meeting where they were sharing the progression of their work, the difficulties they encountered, where they needed support and what was the following steps of the project. Bringing together 11 important NGOs to collect data about 28 different countries in a short period of time is indeed a hard work and a regular cleaning of the database is needed. Some of the candidates were duplicated and needed to be merged, some national parties had the same name in different countries, some european candidates signed twice the same pledge with different statements. Many national parties were unreadable for the majority of the coalition such as the greek parties. Certain countries had an huge amount of constituencies offering a wide range of candidates such as Poland. In some small countries such as Estonia, the members of the EP2014 did not have any contact and it was hard to get access to the datas. Each week, some new difficulties appeared but were followed by new solutions...
The first step of the project that consist to list all the european candidates comes to an end. The NGOs have been collecting signatures the previous weeks and are sharing their campaigns. They are offering many important tools that are helping the citizens to vote for the right candidate between the 22th and 25th May.
After the European elections, the coalition will update the database to flag which candidate has been elected. It will provide a complete and final list of the elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) including all information as it is published on the official European Parliament website and note if the candidates in fact signed the pledges . In addition, a final visualization of the result, including a filter option to only see the elected candidates will be added.