Several bloggers have noted the amazing disappearing biofuels poll (an online poll about EU biofuels policy that suddenly vanished from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso without any explanation). Following repeated enquries to the Commission President’s press office that were completely ignored, a more formal approach under the EU access to documents law has yielded a very comprehensive reply from Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, the Commission President’s Deputy Spokeswoman. I can now reveal the results.
The final result of the poll was 5,892 votes in favour of sticking to the EU’s biofuels target for 2020 and 47,653 voting that the target should be abandoned. The day-by-day voting up to 6 June, when the poll was removed, is shown in the graph below:
Ms Ahrenkilde Hansen also gave the following statement:
“E-polls are generally proposed on the Europa website, including on the President’s website, for a short duration and removed when the interest is fading out. They are not designed for formal consultation (other mechanisms in the political process provide for that), but for giving the visitors, in this case the visitors of the website of the President, an opportunity to convey to the President their personal opinions in an informal manner. Generally, the results can be consulted for the full duration of the poll. In the concrete case of the biofuels e-poll, campaigning and organised voting unfortunately defeated the purpose of the poll and resulted in technical problems, preventing individual citizens to express their personal opinion on this issue to the President (the effect of the campaigning is immediately visible on the tables attached). The poll was subsequently removed from the President’s website.”
Campaigning and organised voting defeating the purpose of the poll? Quel horreur! Now I would never suggest that the Commission has form in turning against polls that produce unwelcome results but I do think that the Commission should to dignify the people who took the time to cast a vote by publishing the results. I’d also suggest that the President take a look at the excellent e-petitions website at 10 Downing Street, built by the good people at mySociety.org.