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A European Blogging Competition

by nanne Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 05:33:56 AM EST

From June 4th to June 7th 2009 elections will be held in the second largest democracy of the world. That is, the European Union Parliament Elections. The elections will establish the mandates of 785 Members of European Parliament, and will also inaugur a new Commission to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

The composition of the Council, made up out of national governments, is largely fixed after the recent elections in Romania, as long as there are no further government crises that prompt elections well before next June. The field is set.

This election comes in interesting times, as the curse says. It could be a change election like the US elections last November, even if there is yet no systematic trust crisis across the EU. There's an outside chance of something really strange happening, a breakthrough, for which I am of course pining.

One major institutional obstacle to the possibility of anything ever breaking through in Europe, though, is the lack of public discourse on the European level. Now, you are supposedly a receptive audience for this sermon, because we're all talking on this level or beyond it. But most of the chattering goes on purely within a national context. And the European Tribune alone isn't enough to change that. Which is where the following plug comes in:

promoted by afew

Think about it is a European blogging competition that is run by the European Journalism Centre. The obvious objective is to kickstart something more of a lively European dialogue, and in that sense it's a bit of a top down effort to form a grassroots movement. This seems conflicted, but the competition is open to anyone and I think this is as good a way as any to seed a dialogue.

Of course the objective of having a better European dialogue is not completely apolitical, but there is no direction implied. And I think we've got a diverse group of people who will guide this process.

So, on to the details. First of all, you might want to participate. The competition is seeking three participants from each EU country. Right now, most slots are filled. You might still want to apply, in case someone drops out or if you think you offer something unique. Some countries are still not fully covered, specifically, for Sweden and Lithuania. Swedish readers, if you want to take part, apply!

Participants get to take part in a free three day seminar in Brussels, and the chance to win something. The main prize will be a Mac laptop, and then there are a few dozen iPhones as awards.

You will not have to compete with me as I will be engaged as a moderator, along with someone from the EJC and the (principal) authors of the following euroblogs: Kosmopolito, Jon Worth Euroblog, and Central Europe Activ.

Aside of that, I'm optimistic that we will manage to provide an interesting platform that a lot of you will want to read and engage by participating in the comments. I'll keep you posted.

How many blogs on European Politics do you read, like, more than once a year?
. Just this one 20%
. Two 20%
. Three 6%
. Four 0%
. More than four 46%
. I have them all in my RSS reader 6%
. Can we PLEASE get back to obsessing over the US? 0%

Votes: 15
Results | Other Polls
You can find a lot of background in this EurActiv linklist:

EurActiv.com - Blogs: Filling the EU's 'communication gap'? | EU - European Information on Public Affairs

A range of European-affairs weblogs has emerged since 2005 - even Commissioners are now operating their own daily internet-diary updates. But the question is, will blogs really lead to more intelligent European debate? 
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 5th, 2008 at 12:31:39 PM EST
I do not see anything about language requirement? Or is the jury well versed in all of EUs languages?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 06:09:25 AM EST
From the rules:

think about it - european blogging competition 2009

1) Requirements for participants

All participants for this blog contest need to register before January 12th, 2009.

The following three criteria should be fulfilled prior to the registration.

1. Nationality of EU Member State
2. Possibility to submit your posts in English
3. Previous publication(s) if applicable

Concerning 1), nationality of the EU Member States apply to the nationals of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

Concerning 2), the editorial staff from the EJC will provide English language support if needed. If you are a blogger who writes in another language, you may translate your posts and submit them with a reminder to the EJC that you will need language support.

It might actually be that we on the jury can also all speak German, but yeah, the competition is going to be all in English.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 06:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. I would suggest putting the link to the rules a bit more prominent then on the very end of the page, perhaps above the registration?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 06:40:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the criterion, and which is the first largest democracy on that criterion?

$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 07:49:17 PM EST
Democracies are constituted by citizens and so the size of a democracy would be determined by the number of its citizens.

The largest democracy in the world is India.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 08:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, the European Union is not a complete state, eg it has no constitution, no defense force etc. Does that qualify it as a democracy, as opposed to simply a union of democracies?

$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Sun Dec 7th, 2008 at 10:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Parliament elections qualify it as democracy.

The EU also consisting of democracies should not cause confusions. Conider the first and third largest democracies, India and the USA: both consist of states that hold their own elections. The same way Britain is a democracy while having other levels of democracy, that is regional elections in Scotland and Wales and North Ireland and local elections, too. The UK is also interesting because democracy comes in combination with undemocratic elements -- e.g. the Queen, the Lords, and temporary statutory rule in North Ireland.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 03:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, not all democracies have (had) constitutions -- the EU has founding treaties and rights stemming from them --, and the EU does have a defense force, even if in a prenatal state.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 03:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prenatal is the right word, yes. In August I covered European defence integration on the AR in the post The State of European Defence Integration, and foreign policy in the blog post European Geopolitics.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 06:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Union has full statehood, and then it's the question whether you can have a democracy without having a state. But you do have citizenship of the European Union, which comes with a number of privileges. To name a few:

  • Voting and standing as a candidate in communal elections in the country of residence
  • Optional voting and standing as a candidate in European Elections in the country of residence
  • Fall-back use of any Member State's diplomatic and consular services when travelling abroad
  • Freedom of movement within the European Union
  • Anti-discrimination rights (that are interpreted broadly by the European Court of Justice)

The democracy of the EU could also be criticised because the European Parliament doesn't have a right to decide over all areas of legislation. Still, I think that the co-decision procedure covers most of the legislation that we see. Furthermore, the areas where the EP doesn't have more than advisory role require a unanimous decision by the Council.

From 2009, the MEPs will also finally be getting the same pay.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 06:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(should be has no full statehood)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 06:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A dynamic community of bloggers, journalists and journalism students, a forum alive with debate and discussion, a creative portal to inspire youth involvement...

Are all bloggers young?  Are all bloggers journalists?  Do journalists only inspire youth?  How old is youth?  (D;

The EJC has received some financial support for the blogging competition from the European Commission.
where the following plug comes in:
Right now, most slots are filled.

This makes it a little too late to recommend any blog, so it sounds like pre-selection.

´a top down effort to form a grassroots movement. This seems conflicted´  ( ;

invitees are briefed on the European blogosphere, European Parliament, elections and on understanding the EU from a journalist's perspective.

How will they create thought/participation if they have to be trained about the EU in January and are only required to post at least once a month?  A minimum of 5 posts (15 per country) during 5 months is a pretty low standard for a blogger, cannot create a following, nor influence voters´ thought.

Who is in ´the international jury´ and what blogs have been selected for each country?  

You may want to correct a two-day event in Brussels´.
a free, three day seminar in Brussels, and the chance to win something.  ...  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Dec 8th, 2008 at 03:18:48 PM EST

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