Saturday, 31 July 2010

The state of the European Union: EU-27 Watch No 9 published

Actually, EU-27 Watch offers more than it promises. Despite its name, the Internet platform compiles materials on European policy debates in 31 countries, as reported by researchers from national research institutes (think tanks): 27 EU member states as well as the four candidate countries for accession, Croatia, Turkey, Macedonia and Iceland.

The EU-27 Watch No 9 now published is an important overview of the European Union as seen from national capitals through expert eyes.

Under the Current Issue, the Introduction by Katrin Böttger and Julian Plottka provides an excellent summary of European Union events and opinions during the latest six months: The EU in 2010 – between excitement over the Lisbon Treaty and anxieties about the financial and economic crisis.

Alternatively, you can access the pdf version of the EU-27 Watch No 9 Introduction (and the Questionnaire) as a pdf file. The main policy areas covered are:

• Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty;
• Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy;
• European economic policy and the financial and economic crisis;
• Climate and energy policy; and
• Other current issues and discourses in the reporting countries.

Economic policy

Note that EU economic policies and the financial and economic crises are discussed extensively, not only in the dedicated chapter, but in the own-initiative chapter on domestic debates as well (Other current issues). The economy is the central issue right now, even if the remedies to apply are far from clear at this stage.

Countries and policy areas

There are now two ways to approach the new EU-27 report. You can read the country sections on the various policy debates, or you can peruse the policies you are interested in sorted into country contributions.

One thing I missed from the old EU-27 reports was the convenient possibility to access or download the whole publication as one file, at one go.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly, and as Eurobloggers we should promote interaction among Europeans. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Euroblogs: Where is Le Taurillon?

What has happened to Le Taurillon, the once active and alert online magazine for EU citizens in French, and the hub for articles in English, German and Italian sister publications?

According to, the latest blog post on Le Taurillon was published more than two weeks ago. Taurillon on Twitter is silent too, with the last tweet on 8 July 2010.

When you try to access the webpages of Le Taurillon, you are met by a Forbidden notice.

The new German blog Treffpunkt.Europa, which seems to have been in existence only since 19 July 2010, mentions technical problems at Taurillon and posted a similar explanation a week later.

Are the problems technical or financial, or has the production and translation network of Young European Federalists (JEF) broken down?

It would be interesting to know what has happened to Le Taurillon and its English and Italian sister publications (ezines or blogs), which have been an important part of the European online public space. Naturally, explanations about the prospects for their resurrection are as eagerly awaited.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly, and as Eurobloggers we should promote interaction among Europeans. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Blogging about Europe? Join!

At least to some extent Euroblogs offer the “Brussels Bubble” feedback on the outside world of half a billion people living in the European Union. At the same time blogs related to EU affairs inform and foster debate among citizens, including themselves.

During any week a number of blogs listed on multilingual (now 635) are active, publishing one or more posts, in one of the 25 languages on offer.

My feeling is that (BP) has become the reference for Euroblogs. This means that a blog focused on European Union affairs, but absent from BP remains “invisible” for European readers, even if it happens to have a substantial national readership.

If you take the trouble to blog, you might as well be visible. offers a practical solution, the Contribute button. If you write a blog entry or find an interesting blog post on the EU, you can add the post by submitting the article URL. (Many blogs treat EU subjects occasionally.)

You can also propose your or somebody else’s blog for permanent listing, if it is focused on EU affairs.

Patience may be needed, because functions as a hobby for a loose network of voluntary editors, who have real life obligations.

Naturally, you as well as the editors face questions on where to draw the line. Is it a blog or a vehicle for re-emitting press releases? Is it a blog with domestic perspectives on EU affairs, or a channel for purely national news? (Selection and de-selection criteria could be a subject for broader debate.)

Frequently asked questions (FACs) may give you some indications. There is also a Feedback button in the left side margin.

For visibility and interaction: Bloggers on Europe, unite (on!

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly, and as Eurobloggers we should promote interaction among Europeans. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Euroblogs: Bursting the Brussels Bubble?

Is the Euroblogosphere an insignificant appendix to the Brussels Bubble, or perhaps (potentially) something more? Let us offer ‘citoyen lambda (européen)’ (the average EU citizen) a complimentary tour.

First, we can state that multilingual has grown to aggregate 635 Euroblogs (blogs related to EU affairs). In a year and a half, has more than doubled in size, and it continues to grow.

What more does the aggregator tell us about the state of the Euroblogosphere?

The front page offers a convenient view of a few highlighted posts (editors’ choices) daily, also available through a daily newsletter, as well as a weekly roundup. You are welcome to subscribe.

You can press the Posts button or subscribe to the stream for all posts to get the array of new blog entries with regard to facts, opinions, themes and languages.

There is, of course, a difference between listed and active Euroblogs. We have entered holiday season – low season for blogging - but let us take a look behind the Blogs button.

Admittedly the classifications are a bit arbitrary, but during the last seven days 27 blogs by journalists or media have published, 69 individual blogs, 19 MEP or Europarty blogs, 15 network blogs, 5 Commissioner blogs, 3 blogs by government representatives, 11 by think tanks or academics, 17 by civil society or NGO blogs.

The result is that 166 Euroblogs had published at least one post during the last seven days, when I checked a short while ago.

An impressive number of active blogs during low season, in my view.

How long can you write about UK politics if you exclude London (Westminster), or about politics in France without mentioning the institutions of the French Republic?

Likewise, it would be highly unnatural to discard the EU institutions from Euroblogs, but the subjects, viewpoints and languages of blog entries extend well beyond the “Brussels Bubble”.

At least in part, Euroblogs offer the “Brussels Bubble” feedback on the outside world of half a billion Europeans.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly, and as Eurobloggers we should promote interaction among Europeans. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Euroblogs facing Babel: Inclusive and exclusive approaches

If the European Union is the common theme, even our shared destiny, should discussions be confined to separate national or linguistic forums?

A short while ago I decided to experiment with a multilingual comment policy on Grahnlaw. After a few days, comments in four languages and minor adjustments it reads like this:

In order to facilitate interaction in the Euroblogosphere, I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Inclusive approaches

Babel is a fact of life in Europe. The European Union has 23 official languages, as well as a host of regional and minority languages. Wider Europe offers even more linguistic diversity.

Each blog has to make a basic choice: the language it is written in.

Further, every Euroblogger among the 635 aggregated on multilingual (and beyond) can reflect on how inclusive or exclusive it wants to be in relation to other languages and public spheres.

Mathew Lowry has blogged about building bridges to create a European online public space.

Inspired by Mathew Lowry and Grahnlaw, The European Citizen decided to open up his Euroblogging and to try to reach out a bit more across the blogosphere(s). He is opening up his blog to comments in different languages, and he will use machine translation to help with responding. He will also reach out by commenting [in English] on blogs in other languages, although he is not sure how this will be received.

In fact, reception for comments in other languages can vary. I experimented by posting a comment in English on an Arte blog (French), but the moderation team quickly banished it on boilerplate grounds that the comment was outside the subject of the blog entry or against editorial policy. As we see, exclusionary policies are still de rigeur in some places.

I have tried to run separate, but related blogs in Finnish and Swedish, such as Eurooppaoikeus and Grahnblawg. However, they have offered little in the way of informed readers and interaction. At the same time, it is hard work to present even a fraction of EU politics and events in a few policy areas in a single language, English, the closest thing we have to a lingua franca.

I respect the valiant individual Eurobloggers who run bilingual blogs. Here are a few examples:

Vihar Georgiev writes the European Union Law blog in English and in Bulgarian, with frequent short updates in parallel.

Another parallel blogger is Europasionaria, in English and in French. She has also added a Google Translate gadget to her pages in order to facilitate communication.

Greg Henning’s EU Weekly contains blog entries in both English and/or French.

Martin on Europaeum alternates between entries in German and English.

Pirate MEP Christian Engström blogs mainly in Swedish, but occasionally in English.

Spanish is the main language of Eva Peña’s Eva en Europa, but she has posted in Catalan as well, and her latest entry was in English.

Including nationals - excluding others

Cédric Puisney aka Un Européen jamais content offers a contrary view to the inclusionary efforts, at least if English is used as a bridging language. He deplores bloggers abandoning their mother tongue to blog in English. He sees linguistic poverty, the threat of impoverished debate and the abandonment of the average EU citizen (citoyen lambda européen).

According to Wikipedia, 51 per cent of the EU population speaks English, followed by German (32%) and French (26%). English is more widely spoken and understood worldwide than the other European languages. (About 20 per cent of Grahnlaw’s readers come from North America.)

We have seen a few examples of bridging policies of inclusion, as well as exclusionary reactions and arguments (Blogs Arte, Cédric Puisney).

Should we confine our Euroblogs and blog discussions to separate national or linguistic forums for Citizen Lambda, or should we do our best to lower barriers between Eurobloggers and to promote pan-European interaction?

Ralf Grahn

Monday, 26 July 2010

Mathew Lowry and the European online public sphere

Martin on Europaeum launched the Twitter hash tag #bkaeb for Better Know A EuroBlog, for blog posts giving reasons for reading a specific Euroblog.

Mathew Lowry’s Tagsmanian Devil has been mentioned frequently on Grahnlaw, because Mathew has spent a lot of time and effort thinking aloud about the European online public space.

Please, take the time to read a number of older blog entries to get acquainted with the state of the Eurosphere.

In this #bkaeb post I am going to refer to the two latest posts only.

Mathew presents his starting points on group blogs, ethics and group inertia, inspired by the long but important blog post where Bora Zivkovic says farewell to Scienceblogs.

Mathew’s latest post Bloggingportal2: What, Why, How … and When? acknowledges that (BP) helps people find out what people are saying about the EU in social media.

However, according to Mathew, more is desirable and possible:

Human curation is essential to overcome the barriers of language and national political contexts. And that curation is what BP’s model offers.

So I would want to see BP remain focused, laserlike, on this aim. It doesn’t need to become an intranet for bloggers, or (another) blogging platform, or (another) group blog. People should blog wherever they like, with BloggingPortal doing better what it already does.

He then discusses the need for resources, curated policy sections and finding the necessary funds for development, before he invites ideas from readers.

By reading Mathew’s entries, you do not only get to know one Euroblog, but the state of the Euroblogosphere.

Mathew is the engine for SWOT analysis in the European online public sphere: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Please, join the conversation.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Multilingual comment policy: In order to facilitate interaction in the Euroblogosphere, I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Missing policy expert Eurobloggers: Motivation and rewards?

Sometimes we go over board when we try to explain things through clear contrasts. I did, when I described “business as usual” blogging on the European Union as petty, limited and low road, despite my intention to explore the need for subject specialists blogging on EU policies in later posts.

Online communications specialist Mathew Lowry had painted the existing Euroblogosphere as a tiny hyperspecialised bubble, talking about EU arcana no one else understands.

In a comment to my previous blog post, Lowry accepted that EU specialists and policy specialists are complementary, not mutually exclusive.

Despite appearances, Lowry and I seem to agree on the absence of subject specialists focused on EU policies.

The influential policy blogger

Mathew Lowry referred to the description of an influential policy blogger put forward by Steffen on Public Affairs 2.0:

An influential policy blogger is an authority on a policy area who has a professional interest in it. They represent an organisation – be it a single issue pressure group or a global corporation – that is one of many stakeholders on a set of policy areas and present that organisation’s positions in blog format. The level of expertise and relevance of the blog is such that it is read by all or at least most other relevant stakeholders including policy makers and key influencers. At this point, the blog can arguably be called an “influential policy blog” ...

In my view Steffen’s description is a good starting point, but too narrow. Advocacy organisations should use the opportunity to engage openly and long term on the battlefields of EU policy debate, but expert academics, journalists or citizens without the need to toe the corporate line are not to be forgotten as potential influentials.

Building bridges?

According to Lowry, it is up to the Brussels Bubble to build bridges outwards if we want to create a European online public space, but specialists blogging intelligently about specific subjects are still notable by their absence.

In a way, I think, bridges have already been built, although it is less clear if the builders can be described as (part of) the Brussels Bubble. EurActiv has created the blog platform Blogactiv, which is open for new bloggers on EU affairs. Citizen bloggers have launched, which already aggregates the posts of 630 blogs related to EU affairs (Euroblogs).

You can offer a policy expert a bridge, but you can’t make him cross it.


Lowry was right to open the discussion on the motivation for a specialist to blog.

Corporations and associations may open their eyes to the opportunities in terms of advocacy goals. Some citizen Eurobloggers may steer from EU institutional coverage towards policy and issue expertise. The growth of the Euroblogosphere leads to more issues being covered, but something still seems to be missing for a major breakthrough.

Expert knowledge and blogging require hard work. Is it a question of motivation and rewards?

Where are the missing links?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Multilingual comment policy: For easier interaction in the Euroblogosphere, feel free to comment in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Eurobloggers: EU or policy specialists?

Our Summer cruise in the Euroblogosphere has taken us to eight destinations, resulting in as many blog entries, but the tour is far from over.

The lack of specialists in EU-oriented blogs is impeding the development of the European online public space, wrote European online communications expert Mathew Lowry.

Waggener Edstrom and Fleishman-Hillard had noted what can be summed up as the lack of influential sector-specific policy bloggers, leading Lowry to explicate that all Eurobloggers are experts, but their specialisation is the EU, with dire results:

Which makes us a tiny, hyperspecialised bubble, talking about EU arcana noone else understands - and, increasingly, talking about ourselves. With barely any bridges connecting us to other online conversations.

According to Lowry, it’s up to the Brussels Bubble to build those bridges outwards if we want to create a European online public space, and if that’s what we want, then these connections are going to be built on specialist subjects.


Let us stop here for a while. I have recently tried to argue how the EU is an unfinished project, drifting without an agreed “manifest destiny”.

Fundamental choices (telos), the structure, politics and (mal)functioning of the European Union, even the Euroblogosphere are in need of constant discussion.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the early medieval monasteries kept some sort of learning and culture alive.

Today, almost any effort to describe and to evaluate the EU conscientiously and independently is a cultural achievement in a sea of ignorance.

Few of us would be content with medieval standards of learning, but we do not have to discard the nave of the wheel in order to create the spokes.

In my view, EU specialists and policy specialists are complementary, not mutually exclusive.

Actually, any serious policy blogger on EU affairs needs to know the difference between the Commission and the Parliament, President Herman van Rompuy and the rotating Presidency, and much more.

The rapidly growing Euroblogosphere will, in my view, supply a part of the demand for policy area and issue specialists:

In a natural way, growth leads to coverage of more policy areas and variety of views being expressed, including national angles on EU issues.

What more is needed? Let us play the Advocate (advocates diaboli or advocatus Dei) to the Tagsmanian Devil in a future post.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Multilingual comment policy: In order to facilitate interaction in the Euroblogosphere, feel free to comment in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

European Union’s Manifest Destiny?

“There is no end in sight for blogging on the high politics of EU fundamentals”, was not an expression of weariness, but of conviction that we European citizens need to reflect on the need for Europe in the wider world and to adapt our means to the challenges.

What The European Citizen called European Theology Season, I would rename European Teleology Season, “telos” being the purpose, aim, end or design of European integration and the European Union (finalité).

The European Citizen continues his style of quality blogging, sharing links to other Euroblogs (Charlemagne, Jason O’Mahony, Eurogoblin and Grahnlaw), before putting forward his reasoned arguments for greater political involvement to decide how we run the EU, and how we can make it work better for those who have lost out.

According to Eurocentric, this requires greater political integration; more pan-European elections that offer a choice in competing policies.

However, even the “progressive” view of Eurocentric seems to accord little weight to the future of Europe in world affairs.

Manifest destiny?

The Americans have had the knack for catchy phrases, so instead of the “telos”, “teleology”, “finalité” of Eurospeak and muddling through, they coined the phrase “manifest destiny”.

Today the European Union lacks a manifest destiny in a positive sense, but if it does not rapidly agree on purposes and structures well above its current ambitions, I am afraid that it will be swept into increasing irrelevance in world affairs - political, military and economic - with severe repercussions for the security and prosperity of EU citizens in the next decades.

An effective union, based on democratic and accountable government, is not a blank cheque for centralised power in all policy areas, only for legitimate rule on issues where an “energetic” European Union can do things better in addition to the Single Market, such as foreign policy, defence, international development, research, environment, economic relations, budget and currency.

I find it disheartening that European leaders and people, by default, seem to regard learning Mandarin and bowing to Asian values as lesser burdens than agreeing on structures necessary to effectively advance European (universal) values and interests at home and in the world.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Even if the Grahnlaw blog and my replies are in English, feel free to comment in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish.

Euroblogs: Languages and interaction

We see a continuing lively debate on Euroblogs and Twitter (for instance #euroblog #EU #bkaeb #bbs10) regarding blogging about the European Union. has grown to aggregate the posts of 630 EU oriented blogs, and it already forms a community of sorts.

My impression from a long time of blog reading is that there is a deep linguistic divide between the English language and French (Italian, Spanish) blogospheres on Europe.

If the politics of European integration, and the policies and law of the European Union are common European themes, why are there so few readers over the linguistic borders and why is there so little interaction between bloggers?

One concrete example: Grahnlaw has more readers from the United States, where people are not directly concerned by the EU, than from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain combined, long-standing members of the European Union.

Bloggers are usually educated persons, and especially Eurobloggers tend to have at least some foreign language skills.

If European integration is about lowering barriers and erasing borders, why not try to make it easier to interact?

Many of us read a foreign language without being able to write it correctly.

There has never been any requirement that comments on Grahnlaw have to be in English, but I have decided to make the policy explicit, by inviting comments in a number of languages:

Even if the Grahnlaw blog and my replies are in English, feel free to comment in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish.

I suggest that other Euroblogs announce similar open policies in order to increase interaction in the Euroblogosphere.

Machine translation advances rapidly, but the results are still often so crude that meaningful and nuanced discussion is impossible. Therefore, I have decided to experiment with a limited selection of languages I am able to read (Dutch and Portuguese only with a dictionary).

Ralf Grahn

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Fundamental challenges for Euroblogging

The Open Europe blog made the point that there is blogging on the fundamental questions of the future direction of Europe, as well as on EU politics in a narrower sense, the outcome of EU policies.

If anyone had managed to obliterate the media and opinion climate in England, or the obstructionist and patchy record of successive United Kingdom governments in European integration from their mind, or yawning apathy among EU citizens, Eurogoblin gave a reminder that warm nationalism and selective support of the European Union are alive and well. This includes the oxymoron of a non-desirable “centralised federal super-state”.

Open Europe and Eurogoblin are not alone. Most Europeans are as unreflecting and unsuspecting.

Start learning Mandarin and Asian values, in time.


Most of the EU institutions work within the existing framework, without much outward signs of open debate or questioning of fundamentals. As among the member states, their petty squabbles are mainly turf wars or limited issues of policy outcomes.


There are a few politicians, researchers, journalists, bloggers and citizens who discuss both the need for more Europe and the democratic legitimacy required for a better European future. Maybe these idealists will become a footnote in the history of lost opportunities.


Three main models are on offer for the European Union (and Euroblogs): The easy road of nationalism to oblivion, the low road of business as usual, and the high road of effectiveness based on democracy.

In my view, the general lack of strategic thinking about the role of Europe in a world of new emerging powers, the competing foreign policies of European Union member states, and the lack of effective representation at global level will contribute to speeding up the decline of the security and prosperity of EU citizens. Continued expansion of the EU combined with the unanimity rule for Treaty reform is practically a guarantee for the future irrelevance of Europe and European values in the world.

If we bar the import of European style federalism, we decline the opportunity to shape the world.

There is no end in sight for blogging on the high politics of EU fundamentals.

Ralf Grahn

Manneken Pis wants you? Pillow talk on “Brussels”?

Uncle Sam wants you, is one of the famous slogans worldwide. Everyone knows that Uncle Sam is the personification of the United States.

If you try to invent something equally hard hitting for the other great union, the EU, perhaps a sense of creeping despair affects you too.

The member states chucked out the official symbols of the European Union from the Lisbon Treaty (but leaving customary use), and for most of the EU’s 500 million population the union feels as personal and personable as a complicated chemical formula.

Brussels – in 23 official languages – has become the closest thing to the de facto capital and the main symbol of the European Union.

The use of “Brussels”, or “Brussels Bubble”, tends to be far from affectionate. The whipping-boy of Europe has an image problem, if we use a mild expression. Deservedly so, many would add.

To complicate matters further, Brussels is the official capital of Belgium (a country almost as complex and ungovernable as the European Union).

If and when “Brussels” wants to find a more engaging and cuddly symbol for citizens, the best known tourist attraction of Brussels is a statue of a peeing boy, Manneken Pis.

Despite the overabundant online offer of (fake) organ-enhancement and potency pills, Manneken Pis remains the symbol of Belgian Brussels, without growth potential to reach European stature.

Dear readers, before you turn to Mathew Lowry’s recruitment drive for subject specialist Euroblogs on EU issues, I invite you to think about the image of the European Union and the lack of official and unofficial symbols.

Does the European Union need and does it deserve more pillow talk?

Ralf Grahn

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Nosemonkey and Jon Worth: Founding Fathers of Euroblogging

In a blog entry Jon Worth recalled that his Euroblog turned five years old (a venerable age in the online world).

At the same time, Jon reminded that in the world of Euroblogging in English, only Nosemonkey had been at it longer.

Both jonworth and Nosemonkey were feted like Founding Fathers by members of the core Euroblogosphere on Twitter, the medium of choice for quick interaction between bloggers on European affairs.

Nosemonkey and Jon Worth have drawn much inspiration from the fertile soil of England, where anti-EU tabloids constantly strive for new lows in their reporting and commenting on the European Union, and a large part of the public is uninformed enough to swallow anything, as long as it is negative.

When the European Parliament rapporteur on media mistrusted the reliability of social media as sources, Jon was right to point out the stupidity of the attitude:

Why the hell should we inherently trust m'stream media?

There are, of course, social media players as reckless with the truth as many virulently anti-EU British mainstream publications with huge readership (often mutually reinforcing), but I have also seen quality blogging on par with and sometimes surpassing the standards of even the best publications in English.

Even if the impact of conscientious Eurobloggers is small, quality blogging on EU affairs is a laudable pursuit. Checking facts and accounting for sources are foundations for good writing on relevant themes. Generous, but critical blog discussion could be stepped up, because it adds an important element of quality control.

The Founding Fathers have blazed a trail in the European social media world.

Ralf Grahn

Monday, 19 July 2010

The European Citizen and better Euroblogging

Can independent Eurobloggers make a mark? Yes, if they deal with relevant issues and produce original content.

Conor Slowey aka Eurocentric, who writes The European Citizen blog, is a case in point. His thoughts on the state(s) of the Old Continent range from the (high) politics of the European Union to justice and home affairs (area of freedom, security and justice).

His blog entries are based on relevant sources, and his conclusions are measured.

As an example, read the latest series of blog posts by The European Citizen on the record of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected from Northern Ireland, one year on from the election.

Eurocentric dedicates a detailed blog post to each of the three MEPs: James Nicholson, Bairbre de Brún and Diane Dodds.

The European Citizen then provides readers with an overview in the blog entry: Northern Ireland’s MEPs: One Year On.

Relevant content, good writing, facts, figures and analysis are the hallmark of The European Citizen.

Without being the first to look at MEPs’ records, Eurocentric is on to something which could – even should - be replicated across the European Union. Admittedly, numbers on various activities are crass, they still offer a basis for value judgments.

My blog entry is not meant to be a panegyric. I have tried to keep excessive praise out of the text, but The European Citizen deserves to be read and to be used as a schoolbook example for better Euroblogging.

Special case NI (& UK)

If other bloggers follow up on their (national) MEPs, there are a few things to keep in mind. The electoral politics and the relationship to the European Union of the United Kingdom in general, and Northern Ireland in particular, have their own characteristics.

Northern Ireland elected three MEPs, but none of them belongs to one of the mainstream political groups which actually run the show in the European Parliament (European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats, Liberals and Democrats, possibly Greens/EFA).

Besides influence in the political group and EP bodies, the drafting of committee reports (and opinions to other committees) would in my view constitute a crucial element when evaluating the influence of an MEP. There are huge differences in importance between reports, so here qualitative analysis is called for, and it is feasible due to the low number of significant reports and opinions drafted even by a well respected and connected MEP.

With the Northern Ireland MEPs mainly outside the EP “power loop”, Eurocentric has had to analyse parliamentary questions, which are easy to concoct and usually lead to inconclusive replies. In other words, more lightweight stuff.

The opinion climate and the electoral system leading to the election of less influential Members of the European Parliament in Northern Ireland (and United Kingdom) are interesting questions in their own right. But that’s another story, Kipling would have said.

Ralf Grahn

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Euroblogs debating Euroblogosphere: Navel-gazing? Professionalism?

With the help of the Twitter discussion under the hashtag #bbs10 (now seven plus pages), let us track the discussion in and about the Euroblogosphere following the Waggener Edstrom Brussels Blogger Study 2010. In addition to the blog entries, remember to read the interesting comments, a sign of an emerging Eurosphere.

Jon Worth invited himself to the launch event, and he seems to have been the first Euroblogger to comment. Jon found the top ten list odd, with Charlemagne (only) in 11th place and Nosemonkey ranked 20th. He offered a link to the report, which was not on the Waggener Edstrom website (but the link did not open the document for me, using Google Chrome).

Even if not downloadable on the Waggener Edstrom website (despite WE comments to that effect), you can request a copy of the Brussels Blogger Study 2010 from the consultancy, by using the link in the first comment.

The EU-Brussels bubble has some way to go before understanding the impact of blogs it seems, concluded Jon, who also linked to the Twitter discussion under the hash tag #bbs10.

Independent bloggers writing about EU policy are nipping at the heels of their big media rivals, according to a survey on the EU's English-language blogosphere, was the main conclusion of EurActiv.

BlogActiv director Stuart Langridge noted the importance of and for the EU blogosphere, and he rejoiced that nine of the forty most influential blogs were hosted on BlogActiv.

The interview with John Jolliffe of Waggener Edstrom adds a few reflections on the nature of the study.

EurActiv publisher Christophe Leclercq on the EuRoman blog opined that EU online media are at their best when they build on a national debate. He trumpeted EurActiv and BlogActiv, but he criticised the study for being confined to blogs in English only, and for non-clickable blog names.

Online communications specialist Mathew Lowry underlined the importance of doing something for progress, rather than criticising those who act. Despite English-only blogs, narrow Brussels focus and a very debatable ranking of blogs, the report was a step on the way towards more and better analyses of EU social media by more people.

The new quality Euroblog did not pull his punches in an entry asking: How did Waggener Edstrom get it so Wrong? Arbitrary criteria and then failing to adhere to them started a detailed dressing down of the report, including the lack of blogs in other languages than English. set off a lively blogger discussion, with commentators pointing out the differences between the US and EU political blog scenes, as well as the absence of female Eurobloggers and anti-EU blogs.

Quality blogger the European Citizen modestly doubted his influence on other Eurobloggers and the Brussels Bubble. Conor Slowey referred to a number of other Euroblog comments, and he recalled the importance of finding and promoting blogs.

Europasionaria noticed movement among French Euroblogs and she expressed the belief that politicising Europe is a requirement for making it more interesting. But Euroblogs could also deal with other issues in order to appeal to a wider public.

Martin on Europaeum evoked the importance of , which aggregates more than 600 Euroblogs. He then proposed a new Twitter tag to present new Euroblogs: #bkae (for “better know a euroblog”), a proposal which received favourable reactions.

Rose22joh on Bit more complicated referred to both the study and the following discussion before adding that US methodology and comparison may have distorted the outcome. She underlined the variety and amateurism of much Euroblogging, the absence of EU girl geeks, and the importance of Twitter as a forum for discussion.

Breaking through the English-only study criteria, Michael Malherbe on Lacomeuropéenne continued his professional analysis on EU communications with a critical comment on the Waggener Edstrom study, but he also presented Fleishman-Hillard’s Netvibes pages on Euroblogs according to categories: FH’s selection, Journalists, Citizens, EU officials, Commissioners, MEPs, Corporate, and Collective (introduction here).

Fleishman-Hillard’s Public Affairs 2.0 blog had previously discussed the absence of influential and professional policy bloggers in Brussels, and this was one of the main findings of the Waggener Edstrom report as well.

My own initial comments on the Waggener Edstrom report and the Fleishman-Hillard Netvibes pages were posted yesterday.

Know thyself

A discussion about Euroblogging among Eurobloggers is self-referential, but it is no sin. Know thyself is a recipe for learning.

The European social media scene, including the Euroblogosphere, is still in its infancy, but growing rapidly. now aggregates more than twice the number of blogs (628) it did a year and a half ago.

In a natural way, growth leads to coverage of more policy areas and variety of views being expressed, including national angles on EU issues.

Both Fleishman-Hillard and Waggener Edstrom have, however, highlighted the relative absence of influential and professional Eurobloggers on (more focused) policy issues.

The public affairs consultancies have a natural interest to generate client interest in EU social media, but this does not mean that they are wrong.

Companies and business associations, Europarties and their foundations, think tanks, as well as “organised” civil society (NGOs) have a golden opportunity to start building credibility through blogs and other social media in order to advance their long term interests, outside the traditional channels of quiet lobbying.

However, turning on the volume and utilising more channels to reach a wider audience are not enough. Without credibility and interaction, megaphone politics turn off viewers and listeners.

The emergence of professionalism and lucrative interests are no hindrance to the continued appearance of engaged citizen bloggers, on the contrary. Independent minds and outspoken persons are needed even more than before, in order to keep the deference factor in check.

Ralf Grahn

Saturday, 17 July 2010

We the Euroblogs

What do they think about us?

Introspection seems to be a favourite among extroverts.

The Waggener Edstrom Brussels Blogger Study 2010 triggered talk among independent Eurobloggers – on Twitter (as well as on blogs).

The catchword of Waggener Edstrom was influence, if exerted in English. My initial reaction is that the study was an interesting first attempt, but it left me with more questions than answers with regard to selection, criteria and results.

The agency could have done the public the favour of posting the study on its website.

If you want to dig deeper, you can follow the Twitter discussion and track down most of the blog posts through the hashtag #bbs10 (several pages).

Lacomeuropéenne continues its excellent work on EU communications. Not only does it comment on the Waggener Edstrom study, but it presents Fleishman-Hillard’s Netvibes pages on Euroblogs according to categories: FH’s selection, Journalists, Citizens, EU officials, Commissioners, MEPs, Corporate, and Collective.

Individual choices can always be discussed, and linguistic diversity is still a challenge, but Fleishman-Hillard’s updated listings capture much of what I consider to be useful Euroblogs (influential or not).

Ralf Grahn

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Youth work and EU 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move

Yesterday we witnessed the deplorable state of the EU Commission’s central website for the Europe 2020 strategy, in the blog entry EU 2020 website and Youth on the move: Nul points !

Luckily, the picture is not all black. The Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union arranged two conferences in Ghent on issues bound to feed into the build-up of the EU 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move: The History of Youth Work Conference (5 to 7 July) and the First European Youth Work Convention (7 to 10 July 2010).

The Declaration of the 1st Youth Work Convention, now downloadable through the conference website, is addressed to the Ministers responsible for Youth in the member states of the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as regional and local actors.

During the Convention youth work was briefly defined as the provision of ‘space and opportunity for young people to shape their own futures’ (page 3).

According to the Declaration (page 5):

Youth work must avoid seeing any group of young people solely as targets for inclusion and participation and more as partners in activism for the promotion of diversity in society.

From a discussion of various issues, the Declaration went on to sketch the next steps to be taken with regard to European youth work (page 6 to 7):

The Convention recognised the responsibility of youth workers themselves to contribute when it can on the agendas outlined above, but they also need enabling politically and financially. At the European level, there is a range of political initiatives and actions in the youth field (and beyond but still affecting young people, youth work and youth policy) taking place over the next year. The content of this Declaration should therefore be taken into account in those debates. The Declaration is intended to encourage the maintenance of attention to youth work and young people within these policy debates. These include:

• Europe 2020 strategy and its flagship project ‘Youth on the Move’
• The anticipated Recommendation of the Council on the Promotion of Mobility
• The anticipated Recommendation of the Council on the Recognition of Non-Formal Learning
• The new generation of programmes that will follow Youth in Action in 2013
• The preceding debate that will inform the design of the future EU ‘youth’ programme
• The further development of non-formal learning dimensions of Europass
• The new Pathways 2.0 on the validation and recognition of non-formal learning
• The new training strategy on youth work in Europe within the Youth in Action programme

The 1st European Youth Work Convention, from which this Declaration has emerged, has started the debate on youth work in Europe. The Convention asks that the momentum established should be taken forward within the existing youth policy frameworks of both the European Union and the Council of Europe:

• The renewed framework for European co-operation in the youth field
• The Resolution on the youth policy of the Council of Europe

The Convention requests that, on the basis of this Declaration, the European Union, the Council of Europe and their member states, and the current and next trio Presidencies of the EU should build up an agenda, an action plan and the necessary resources for its realisation. The agenda should culminate in a 2nd European Youth Work Convention. To conclude, this Declaration also looks forward to the content and subsequent deliberations of the Resolution on Youth Work of the Council under the Belgium Presidency.

Besides youth work and policy, education, vocational training, mobility and transition into working life are elements of the promised EU 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move we will try to look at in coming blog posts.

Ralf Grahn

Friday, 9 July 2010

EU 2020 website and Youth on the move: Nul points !

The Europe 2020 strategy is the raison d’être of the Barroso II Commission, so preparation and communication of the seven flagship initiatives must be highly visible, and they have to go hand in hand.

Is this theory or practice?

Youth and education

In the blog entry Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move (EU Commission Work Programme 2010) we saw the high rates of youth unemployment, indicating that the European labour markets are dysfunctional, despite the demographic challenges of ageing populations. The Commission Work Programme (CWP) 2010 promises the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move in the third quarter of 2010, and a communication on Youth and Employment has been promised in the fourth quarter.

Europe 2020 website

Given the defining importance of the Europe 2020 strategy for the whole term of the Barroso II Commission, in terms of aims, action, positioning and communication, the central Europe 2020 website should be a vibrant well of constantly updated information, well structured and thematically arranged.

Exaggerating ever so slightly, we called the central Europe 2020 website “dead as the dodo”, when we looked at it 28 June 2010.

This is the evidence today: According to the Europe 2020 web page, it was last updated 6 May 2010. This cannot be true, because the text says that the Europe 2020 strategy “will be formally adopted in 17 June 2010”. The date is actually a link to the conclusions adopted (not to be adopted) by the European Council on that day (without saying so; document EUCO 13/10).

The links in the margin look even more abandoned. The latest news link is from 26 March, and the most recent documents from 6 May 2010.

Nothing has happened in almost two weeks, since our last look.

Forsaken, deserted ... If this is the level of care and commitment shown to the defining strategy (raison d’être) of the current Commission, what can we expect in other policy areas?

Naturally, we gained no new knowledge about the preparation of the flagship initiative Youth on the move, either.

Commission europénne, nul points !

Ralf Grahn

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move (EU Commission Work Programme 2010)

Can anything be done to reduce idleness and frustration, improve the functioning of jobs markets, and to give young people better skills to start an independent life and a productive career?

According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in May 2010, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 19.9% in the euro area and 20.5% in the EU27. The lowest rate was observed in the Netherlands (8.1%), and the highest rates in Spain (40.5%), Estonia (39.8% in the first quarter of 2010) and Latvia (39.7% in the first quarter of 2010).

The youth unemployment rates are roughly twice as high as for the population as a whole, both in the European Union and in the individual countries.

Obviously, the financial and economic crises have taken their toll by barring recruitment, but in a Europe already facing the demographic challenges of an ageing population, something is seriously wrong with the markets for labour market entrants.

Europe 2020 strategy

The blog post Europe 2020 strategy: Flagship initiative Youth on the move looked at how the European Commission outlined its flagship initiative to improve employability and employment for young EU citizens through education and training, in the communication:

Europe 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 final

Commission Work Programme

In section 2 of the Commission’s Work Programme (CWP) for 2010, Tackling the crisis and sustaining Europe’s social market economy, the flagship initiative is briefly outlined (page 5):

“Youth on the move” (strategic initiative 12): This initiative will set out priorities to enhance the performance of education systems, to reinforce the attractiveness of Europe's higher education system and to open more mobility programmes to young people. The younger generation has been particularly hit by the crisis. A communication on “youth employment” (strategic initiative 13) will be a policy response to increase job opportunities for young people, promote apprenticeships and training, and improve transition from education into work.


Commission Work Programme 2010 - Time to act, Volume I; Brussels, 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final

CWP Annexes

In the CWP Annexes strategic initiative 12, the flagship initiative Youth on the move, is promised in the third quarter of 2010. The main components of this non-legislative initiative are sketched in the following manner in Annex I (page 3):

The Communication will set out a strategy to integrate EU and national mobility, university and researchers programmes, to modernise higher education, to promote entrepreneurship through mobility of young professionals, and to promote the recognition of informal learning. It will announce further initiatives, covering both policy and programme related elements, which will be brought forward in coming years. This framework will include a European entrepreneur exchange programme - "ERASMUS for young entrepreneurs".

With regard to strategic initiative 13, the non-legislative communication on Youth and Employment is promised in the fourth quarter of 2010 (page 3):

The Communication will look at ways of strengthening policy to overcome the impact of the crisis on young people. It will explore how to ease transitions from education and training work. The document will also address how to ensure a better link between policy priorities and EU funds, especially the European Social Fund. The Communication will announce a set of new initiatives including the promotion of youth geographical mobility (EURES), a mobilisation of the business sector to recruit youth, and announce increased direct support to innovative projects through PROGRESS, the Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes.


Commission Work Programme 2010 - Time to act, Volume II Annexes; Brussels, 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final

In this series of blog entries we will continue to look at how Europe is going to respond to the challenge of its dysfunctional jobs markets, especially with regard to young people, in the context of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move.

Ralf Grahn

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Reimbursement for Members of the European Parliament

According to Article 223(2) TFEU, the European Parliament lays down regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the duties of its Members. It needs the consent of the Council and an opinion from the Commission.

The main act is the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, more exactly:

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2005/684/EC, Euratom of 28 September 2005 adopting the Statute for Members of the European Parliament; OJEU 7.10.2005 L 262/1


Then there is an implementing Bureau decision with the nitty-gritty euro stuff, which follows the annoying practice of not being identifiable and traceable by number:

DECISION OF THE BUREAU of 19 May and 9 July 2008 concerning implementing measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament; OJEU 13.7.2009 C 159/1


The EP Bureau has now published a batch of amendments in the Official Journal of the European Union, still without an easily identifiable number for its decision:

DECISION OF THE BUREAU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT of 11 and 23 November 2009, 14 December 2009, 19 April 2010 and 5 July 2010 amending the Implementing Measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament; OJEU 6.7.2010 C 180/1

Formally, the decision enters into force tomorrow, but in practice a number of the reimbursement practices have already become effective.

In its own affairs, EP practices are still not quite up to scratch.

Ralf Grahn

Monday, 5 July 2010

Europe 2020 strategy: Flagship initiative Youth on the move

Education is at the heart of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move, which aims at improved employability and employment for young EU citizens.


The Europe 2020 strategy puts forward three priorities for growth (smart, sustainable and inclusive), and five headline targets (employment, innovation, climate and energy, education and inclusion).

The Commission has promised and the European Council has called for concrete action in the form of seven flagship initiatives.

Flagship initiative Youth on the move

We are now taking a look at how the European Commission has sketched the flagship initiative Youth on the move, in its policy proposal:

Communication from the Commission: Europe 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 final

The executive summary of the Europe 2020 strategy offers a brief description of what the flagship initiative is about (page 5):

– "Youth on the move" to enhance the performance of education systems and to facilitate the entry of young people to the labour market.

Education, mobility and employment

On page 13, the Commission outlines how the flagship initiative Youth on the move aims to improve education (employability), increase mobility in education and training, and facilitate job market entry for young people. Action is foreseen at EU level and at national level:

The aim is to enhance the performance and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education institutions and raise the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU, combining both excellence and equity, by promoting student mobility and trainees' mobility, and improve the employment situation of young people.

At EU level, the Commission will work:

– To integrate and enhance the EU's mobility, university and researchers' programmes (such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus and Marie Curie) and link them up with national programmes and resources;

– To step up the modernisation agenda of higher education (curricula, governance and financing) including by benchmarking university performance and educational outcomes in a global context;

– To explore ways of promoting entrepreneurship through mobility programmes for young professionals;

– To promote the recognition of non-formal and informal learning;

– To launch a Youth employment framework outlining policies aimed at reducing youth unemployment rates: this should promote, with Member States and social partners, young people's entry into the labour market through apprenticeships, stages or other work experience, including a scheme ("Your first EURES job") aimed at increasing job opportunities for young people by favouring mobility across the EU.

At national level, Member States will need:

– To ensure efficient investment in education and training systems at all levels (pre-school to tertiary);

– To improve educational outcomes, addressing each segment (pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary) within an integrated approach, encompassing key competences and aiming at reducing early school leaving;

– To enhance the openness and relevance of education systems by building national qualification frameworks and better gearing learning outcomes towards labour market needs.

– To improve young people's entry into the labour market through integrated action covering i.a guidance, counselling and apprenticeships.

In the overview annex, the flagship initiative Youth on the move is placed under Smart growth and Education (page 32).

Headline target: Education

The European Council meeting 17 June 2010 finalised the headline targets (document EUCO 13/10). The adopted headline targets guide the preparation of the flagship initiatives (and the national reform programmes, NRPs). The approved education target of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth aims at (in Annex I, page 12 of the conclusions):

- improving education levels, in particular by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates to less than 10% and by increasing the share of 30-34 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40%; [The European Council emphasises the competence of Member States to define and implement quantitative targets in the field of education.]

Youth on the move: To be continued

I intend to look at the preparation and communication of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move in series of blog entries.

Ralf Grahn

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is not a bad day for Europeans to reflect on the need for government and the legitimacy of power in this global age.

Dear Readers,

the Declaration of Independence.

Ralf Grahn

Saturday, 3 July 2010

An own-initiative report in the European Parliament (Innovation Union)

Officially, it started with the Commission’s communication Reviewing Community innovation policy in a changing world; Brussels, 2.9.2009 COM(2009) 442 final. The paper launched a public consultation on the EU’s future innovation plan in the context of the post-Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs.

Own-initiative report

When the European Commission proposes (and coordinates), the European Council and the Council decide on policy guidelines, and the member states act and interact, without proposing new legislation, there is no legislative procedure for the European Parliament (EP) to take part in.

Rule 48 of the Rules of Procedure (version December 2009) offers the EP the possibility to draw up an own-initiative report, if the Conference of Presidents gives authorisation to the committee in question.

Legislative Observatory Oeil

With the help of the Legislative Observatory of the European Parliament, called Oeil, we can follow a procedure in the EP from the beginning to the end.

Under Procedures (which could add the word search), we can search on a number of different criteria.

Here we happen to know the Commission document, which opens a search page. After typing in the document type, year and number, we get the search result:

The procedure number, the name of the Commission document etc.

By clicking on the link to the procedure number INI/2009/2227, we can see the main steps and even the principal contents on one page, with links to further documents. The summary provides enough information for the general reader.

Useful or not?

We sometimes see views which are critical of the European Parliament “meddling” in affairs where it lacks legislative powers.

Is this view justified?

In my opinion, no.

First of all, the EP has powers over the EU budget as a whole, so it needs to have a view on the substance of union action, even when it takes place between the Commission, the Council and the member states.

Second, the EP is needed for political control (scrutiny) of action by the other institutions.

Third, even where the EP’s powers are weak, such as in foreign and security policy, it is preferable that the representatives of EU citizens use their limited powers actively and build their institutional knowledge base with a view to the day when the EU gets a politically accountable government.

Some of the criticism mentioned above may stem from irritation with silly or populist demands in EP resolutions.

The European Parliament is hardly the only elected body tempted to wish for all kinds of wonderful things, but in the long run it is important for the EP to be seen as a serious player.

Innovation Union

With an own-initiative report, the European Parliament was free to decide the time and the contents. While formally started in response to the Commission’s consultation paper (Green Paper), the EP adopted its resolution P7_TA(2010)0209 on 15 June 2010, just two days before the European Council finalised the guidelines for the Europe 2020 strategy, which includes the flagship initiative Innovation Union.

The EP resolution clearly targets the coming Commission communication on Innovation Union, expected in September.

Worth taking a look, if you are a stakeholder.

Ralf Grahn

Friday, 2 July 2010

Court of Justice of the European Union: Consolidated Rules of Procedure

The Court of Justice of the European Union is mentioned among the institutions of the EU in Article 13(1) TEU, with more detailed provisions in Articles 251 to 281 TFEU. Further, Protocol (No 3) on the statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union is annexed to the Treaties (latest consolidated version of the EU Treaties, incorporating the Lisbon Treaty, published OJEU 30.3.2010 C 83).

Rules of Procedure

Consolidated versions of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 2 July 2010 C 177:




Ralf Grahn

Thursday, 1 July 2010

EU Commission proposes stronger economic governance

The discussion about economic governance in the European Union and the eurozone has been enriched by new proposals.

On 12 May 2010 the European Commission published a communication Reinforcing economic policy coordination; COM(2010) 250 final (12 pages).

A short while ago, the European Central Bank published its proposals on reinforcing economic governance in the Euro Area (14 pages), addressed to the task force chaired by Herman Van Rompuy.

Commission proposal main points

Yesterday, 30 June 2010, Olli Rehn, the commissioner for economic and monetary policy, explained the European Commission’s new proposals on tools for enhanced EU economic governance (SPEECH/10/350).

The key tool to improved surveillance is the European Semester: prior coordination of economic policies. Rehn hopes that the Ecofin Council on 13 July 2010 endorses the launch of the European Semester from 2011 and a revision of the Code of Conduct for the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

In a press release, the Commission presented the key proposals for reinforced macro-economic, budgetary and structural surveillance (IP/10/859).

In a clear manner, an explanatory memorandum offered further detail about the proposed toolbox for stronger economic governance in Europe (MEMO/10/288).

Commission communication

During the course of writing this blog post, the Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs managed to replace its machine translated web page on enhancing economic policy coordination for growth and jobs with a page in real English.

The same thing happened with the Commission communication. The unreadable machine translation was replaced by a document revised by human beings, even if the text may still be somewhat provisional:

Enhancing economic policy coordination for stability, growth and jobs – Tools for stronger EU economic governance; Brussels, [??] COM(2010) 367/2 (15 pages)

The communication COM(2010) 367 has not yet been posted on the legal portal Eur-Lex, under preparatory documents.

Ralf Grahn