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.