Tag Archives: charlemagne

How do I find out about the EU?

A point that I’ve heard since I started working at the Representation, and one that came up again today in the wake of #thespeech is along these lines:

I don’t know much about the EU and I don’t know where to go to find out.

 

So here’s my selection of EU Starters for Ten:

I would start with Helen Wallace’s run-down on the 40 years of membership in the Journal of Contemporary European Research. It has a useful timeline, rounds up the main areas of narrative and even includes a comparative table of public opinion since 1973.

I then suggest listening to Europe’s Choice, a short series by Allan Little and Jane Beresford on Radio 4 that looked at the elements contributing to the Euro’s current situation.

My next point of call would be the Charlemagne blog at the Economist, in all of his recent incarnations (he’s like Doctor Who, you know, and regenerates every few years). Certainly the EU specific articles are knowledgable and interesting, and those on other European countries can give useful context that is sometimes missing in the debate here.

Suggestions made by others included:

State of the Union by Anand Menon

Europe in 12 lessons (written by Pascal Fontaine and published by the European Union Publications Office)

I’d be interested to know what others would put forward as a good place for an interested newcomer to start finding out about the EU. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.

 

Congratulations Charlemagne!

I was at the UACES/ThomsonReuters award for Reporting Europe last night. A nice event for several reasons. Firstly because I got to see several people I like who were over from Brussels, including Oana Lungescu and Stephen Castle, both of whom were nominated. Secondly, it’s good to recognise quality reporting on Europe when it occurs, backing up my constant assertion that good reporting doesn’t mean positive, it means accurate, which is the least the public have the right to expect. And thirdly because the winner was very worthy – the Charlemagne blog written by David Rennie at the Economist. There’s pretty universal agreement among EU geeks that his coverage of the issue is just about the best around. A shame he is moving on.

If you go to the UACES award site, you’ll see a video of the shortlisted prizes put together by students at Kent University. It gave a nice impetus to the ceremony and gave a good flavour of the various candidates.

As a bit of a social media geek (as well as an EU one) I really enjoyed this piece by Mark Pack on the whole #nickcleggsfault thing on Twitter. Though this isn’t perhaps THE internet election, the role of social media has I believe made differences to how issues are discussed. It’s made it easier to find, connect to and discuss with people who are interested in the same things (even if coming at it from different perspectives and viewpoints). That is surely a good thing.

Links 29 March 2010

I thought Joshua Chaffin wrote a sensible piece today on the departure of Commissioner Ashton’s spokesman.

In the meantime, take heart that Lutz is not leaving the Commission, but going back to DG Trade, where one suspects his lofty skills will be better appreciated.

Nosemonkey gets it spot-on: No-one understands the EU. I guess I would just add “and when they do it’s pretty dry and technical”

But the EU is not a single, harmonious entity, and cannot be simply explained. It is made up of 27 individual member state governments (who all still have to agree unanimously on all major decisions, despite being made up of political parties of all stripes), plus the European Parliament, plus the commission, plus the numerous other bodies that hang around the fringes.

If “the EU” decides to act, it is never for just *one* reason. It is for *at least* 27 different reasons. Unlike with national politics, where policy decisions can often be explained in just a sentence, every EU decision is vastly complex – with large chunks of the decision-making process having taken place behind closed doors in languages that you don’t understand.

New media often get a bashing, so it’s useful to be reminded of the huge potential for good that they embody.

Disasters focus the mind in ways that longer-term problems do not, but this crowd-sourced crisis response movement has lessons far beyond disasters. They are helping us to understand the circumstances that can rally the wisdom in crowds into a powerful force for solving the problems of the 21st century.

Charlemagne suggests to European leaders that they talk less. Good luck with that…

I think Europe’s over-representation is not sustainable in the long run. That said, am I about to urge the British government to allow France to speak for the City of London on financial regulation? Ahem, no. No more than the French would allow Britain to speak for them.

And finally, I was in Edinburgh this weekend and had two great meals, particularly our Saturday fine dining experience at Wedgwood with one of the loveliest bottles of wine I’ve ever had in a restaurant.