Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Euroblog roundup 1

Welcome to the inaugural Euroblog roundup on this, the 50th anniversary weekend of the Treaty of Rome.

Now, how this is normally going to work is as follows: every other Sunday the Euroblog roundup will compile the best blog posts of the previous two weeks in one handy package. The only criteria – they have to be good and have some kind of European focus. You’re an Australian writing about Austria? Fine. You’re a Basque writing about Brazil? Sorry.

Any submissions most welcome – to EUroundup [at] gmail [dot] com – as the whole point of this is to expand everyone’s knowledge of the kind of blogging quality there is out there, and there’s no way I know every European blog (hell, I can’t even read most of them, as they’re written in foreign). The next roundup I hope to have here in a fortnight – then it will start travelling.

And now, to the linky goodness. But remember – as this is the first of these roundups, a number of these posts are a few months old. In future, only posts from the last two weeks will qualify…

To start, for any newcomers not familiar with me who get confused by the name of this blog, perhaps my political philosophy, pretentiously presented as the Philosophicae Nasalis Larvatus, may be of interest, explaining and justifying my frequently contradictory takes on all thing European. (The glib version? I’m fundamentally pro-EU, but think it’s often a bit rubbish…)

What with the EU’s 50th birthday celebrations still going on, how better to start properly than GlobaLab’s comprehensive happy birthday post?

Nanne of DJ Nozem has also been busy, with a handy roundup of reviews of the first 50 years.

The long-running Euroblog – a northern perspective (back from hiatus) also has a 50th anniversary overview, asking the pertinent question “if the EU became too popular, who should the Swedes blame for all their woes?” You could happily replace “the Swedes” with pretty much any EU nationality you like, methinks…

But does the EU really have that much to celebrate? Elaib of England Expects thinks not with 50 reasons to leave the EU.

Over at European Tribune, however, they’ve been coming up with their own list of benefits the EU’s brought. Some of the people in the comments even make a decent stab at defending the Common Agricultural Policy…

Justifying the CAP is one of the hardest tasks of any self-proclaimed pro-EU type, as Tom Papworth of Liberal Polemic understands all too well.

Some, meanwhile, still hope that the EU can be successfully reformed, BlogEuropa calling for a proper debate (rather than the Angela Merkel approach of “here’s the Berlin Declaration – oh, and I’ve already signed it for you all…”).

Jan Seifert, meanwhile, was able to question Commissioners Barroso and Wallstrom face to face about their current reforms.

From further afield, however, Daniel Drezner argues that the EU’s chances are not looking great.

Others, like EU Serf, reject any possibility of major changes being possible, arguing in detail that the EU is unreformable.

Similar thinking pushed sweary eurosceptic (though he’d prefer Euronihilist) Devil’s Kitchen to join the anti-EU UK Independence Party. What was more surprising is that he justified his decision with a well-considered post on the matter that in places sounds almost convincing.

In any case, reform may be the least of the EU’s problems. Now it has 27 members, P O’Neill asks how well can the EU handle an economic crisis?

Perhaps it’s also time to reform the single market – the Centre for European Reform blog provides an overview of a current policy document.

If there’s one thing pro- and anti-EU types can agree on, it’s that the people who profess to represent our respective opinions at senior level do an atrocious job. Alex Harrowell lays in to the spokesmen for the pro-EU cause over at A Fistful of Euros.

But it’s all just a matter of (frequently flawed) perception anyway, as EurSoc explains about those 50th anniversary polls.

1948 also has a look at the polls, and tries to work out why, when the EU has done most of what it set out do do, it isn’t better appreciated.

Perhaps we should all join Marko Bucik in his search for political principle?

“Political principle” is not a phrase often used in association with France’s soon-to-be-departed President – but France Decides nonetheless gives Jaques Chirac a very fair retrospective.

Which gives a nice excuse to slide into country-specific posts, like Apricot Flan’s How to win an election in Russia (which, with parliamentary elections this year and presidential ones next, could prove a handy check-list over the coming months…)

In a similar vein, Very Russian Tochka Net provides a translation of a Russian election official’s experiences of fraud. (They’re also very good on the anti-Americanism of the movie 300.)

As we’ve already wandered slightly outside of Europe proper, let’s head a tad further afield for Siberian Light’s interview with Central Asia blog Registan’s Nathan Hamm.

The, back west, the dilemmas of being an expat neatly summed up by a post about peanut butter in Istanbul at Carpetblog.

Peanut butter – not quite sweet, not quite savoury. A confusing condiment, and as such probably an ideal metaphor for much of Europe’s eastern fringe, on which the Further Ramblings of a N. Irish Magyar are based, ruminating on the oddities of Hungarian liberalism and the similarities between Budapest and Belfast.

Finally, a comprehensive and considered look at last weekend’s Finnish elections from Aapo Markkanen – precisely the sort of thing this roundup will usually be after.

And there you have it – 27 links for 27 member states (I would have done 50 links for 50 years, but didn’t have time to dig them all out…)

The next Euroblog roundup will be back here on Easter Sunday, 8th April. More submissions this time, please, to EUroundup [at] gmail [dot] com. Ta, and ta-ta!

One Comment

  1. As I think my article makes clear, I would not even begin to justify the CAP.

    OTOH, as long as global free trade is no more than wishful thinking, I think that we are better off with free trade in Europe than no free trade at all.

    We need to reform the EU, not withdraw from it, to make it a free market rather than a bloated bureaucracy and agent for top-down solutions.