David Crisóstomo

David Crisóstomo

Hemiciclo: Transparency just a few clicks away

Working at the European Parliament in Brussels strengthened David Crisóstomo's conviction that democracy does not work without transparency. For there to be transparency, people need to know what is really happening in democratic institutions, which is not always the case. In the case of Portugal, for example, David realised that it was virtually an impossible mission for ordinary citizens to get simple information about how our representatives vote in the parliament. Inspired by the VoteWatch Europe platform, David got to work soon after returning to Portugal to find a solution to this problem. This is how the Hemiciclo portal was born.

The portal allows people to find out how each member of European parliament (MEP) has voted on every piece of legislation. Anyone can search, monitor and scrutinise the voting record of each MEP by parliamentary grouping, legislation voted, etc. This information is completely neutral and free.

To be completely transparent, it’s likely that Hemiciclo would not even exist if Portugal had not signed up to the European project
David Crisóstomo,
25
years
Academic researcher and political activist
What is your project called and what does it aim to do?

“My project is the Hemiciclo platform, of which I am a director and founder. The platform is dedicated to recording the votes cast in plenary sessions of the Portuguese parliament and to promoting access to better comprehend its activities."

How did the European Union (EU) inspire you to create this project?

“To be completely transparent, it’s likely that Hemiciclo would not even exist if Portugal had not signed up to the European project. Like many Portuguese people, half of my family chose to live abroad during the dictatorship period and, although my great-grandparents chose to return to their homeland after the overthrow of the regime on 25 April 1974, their children and grandchildren (including my mother) only took this decision once Portugal had decided to join the European communities.

I was born after the Maastricht Treaty and, to me, Portugal has always been a country undergoing a full structural transformation as a result of investments financed by EU funds. I have been lucky enough to be able to attend various conferences and seminars on the EU in Portugal and the rest of Europe. I took part in the Comenius project and had the opportunity to live in Brussels a few years ago. There, I worked in the European Parliament, an experience that transformed my perspective of the European legislative process and where I encountered VoteWatch Europe, a project that inspired, and helped, with the creation of Hemiciclo.”

How do you see the future of the EU?

“In constant transformation. I am a European federalist. I believe that the continental integration we have been building over the last half century is the only way to preserve the democratic rule of law that our national, regional and local institutions have created since the end of World War II. But I am also a democrat and naturally I understand that we must build majorities that support the various phases and facets of European integration – a process that takes time, needs generations and, as in any democratic process, may have different rhythms. We must take one step at a time.”

Which of the 5 #EUandME themes is most important for you and why?

“While I value the others very much, the Rights theme is the one I consider the most important because it is the basis of this whole project. Without fundamental rights, without citizens’ rights, and without the rights, freedoms and guarantees we share as Europeans, everything is in danger of collapsing. Without the EU, the rights would be increasingly limited and without rights, the EU would make no sense.”

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