It’s Easter, I’ve got chocolate coming out of my ears and a big shoulder of lamb (smothered in garlic and rosemary) slowly roasting in the oven, and a huge vat of decent European blog posts wating in the wings. So, without further ado, let’s kick off this bumper Bank Holiday roundup…
For no apparent reason, there’s been a bit of discussion about the differences between Europe and America this last week, Not Saussure reminding us how it’s easy for Brits to forget just how different our American friends can be – with more from Tim Worstall, this time looking on the transatlantic shift in economic attitudes.
France Decides takes a look at the odd change in attitude of the French far right when it comes to the EU – possibly an indication of things to come for proto-fascists (and actual fascists) continent-wide.
Talking of possible ways forward, Fistful (now seemingly back up and running properly after a couple of months of technical glitches) has been looking at the situation in the Balkans following the Serbia / Montenegro split (with a follow-up here).
Erkan (now at a shiny new web address – update blogrolls, people) also looks to the future, specifically the future of the relationship between the EU and Turkey.
Elsewhere, however, people seem to be looking backwards, La Russophobe reporting on Russia’s continuing love-affair with Stalin. Yes – the same Stalin who killed at least 20 million Russians…
But, depending on who you ask, Russia’s not all barking mad – according to Jon Hellevig at the Russia blog, tax reforms under Putin have created not only a thriving economy, but also far greater freedom for the population at large.
This is just part of why Russia is such an enigma – 1948 argues it’s also creating problems for Europe as a whole, with Moscow hijacking the European Court of Human Rights – a situation which could begin to threaten the Council of Europe as a whole.
Still, it’s not just Russia, the Parliament Protest blog reporting on how it is now illegal to argue against government policy even within Parliament’s buildings. Not in Russia, not in Central Asia, not in Belarus – but in Britain.
Still, it’s not like us Brits are going to notice – Croydonian notes that 59% of us have never heard of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Then again, as Stirred Up points out, the EU’s publicity machine may be pretty large, but it’s also stupidly ineffective. Often quite depressingly so for those of us who are pro-EU, it must be said.
Beyond the CAP there is of course the equally controversial CFP – something Strange Stuff looks into, with a few alternative proposals.
There’s still an undercurrent of reformism going on in the EU, even after the damp squib that was the Berlin Declaration. Jon Worth explains how the ongoing hope to expand qualified majority voting in the EU could affect current alliances.
Some, however, are still not convinced of the benefits of the EU itself, let alone EU reform – LFB_UK sets out the reasons for his euroscepticism.
Then, over at the Telegraph, eurosceptic Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan shows how big media blogging should be done with a look at how to reform the EU’s finances to prevent further corruption.
The Conservatives are currently re-thinking their entire approach to the EU. At big-name Tory blogger Iain Dale’s place, a guest blogger explains the Tories’ attitudes towards MEP candidate selection for the next round of Euro elections.
Another big media blog doing stupidly well is the Economist’s Certain ideas of Europe, this post on the economic insanity of (most) EU employment laws being a prime case in point.
Talking immigration, Euromatt waxes lyrical about migration and borders and cows.
But it’s not all borders – there’s also the economics to consider for the EU’s future working, with Eurozone Watch providing a top-notch overview of the economics of the Eurozone, and the challenges that its odd position within the EU present for the Union’s fiscal future.
Plus, of course, there are the challenges to security and privacy, with Spyblog taking a look at the ongoing drive towards providing a controversial EU-wide system for data retention.
But some problems are more immediate – and beyond the EU’s eastern boundary, Neeka’s been provideing some wonderfully human coverage of Ukraine’s current political crisis.
And throughout eastern Europe, the place of the Roma is slowly working itself out – one of the EU’s greatest challenges being to alter the attitudes of centuries towards this sizeable minority, something towards which Transitions Online’s new Romantic blog is hoping to contribute.
Back west, if you fancy making some cash on the French elections, Political Betting has a roundup of where you should put your money.
Finally, some non-English quality blogging (sadly not all of the stuff I was sent by Bengt Karlsson, as the email explaining what it’s all about got corrupted somehow) – this Swedish/English translator may come in handy, as might Google’s translation service.
First up, Blogging Swedish MEP Ã…sa Westlund has called for a European Public Service TV channel, only for it to be criticised by social democrat blogger Jonas Morian.
And more Swedish blogging, with a roundup of Swedish bloggers’ reactions to the Berlin Declaration – like Jonas Jolander (“There is a party and I am not invited” and the researcher to a Swedish MEP who reckons “it’s the Kremlin of our time… it’s enough to make you feel sick”.
Finally, in France Liberation’s blogger Jean Quatremer has been taking a look at dear blogging Commissioner Margot WallstrÃ¶m – most likely the most high-profile Euroblogger of the lot – and doesn’t like what he finds.
And, you see, that’s just what this roundup’s meant to be for – highlighting the blogging quality across the continent, so that everyone can see that the biggest names are not necessarily the best.
This week’s got pretty big, as I’d left it a fortnight. So I’m reckoning weekly may be the way forward – one more here to see how it goes and give me time to organise a moving carnival type thing. All entries to EUroundup [at] gmail [dot] com by next Sunday lunchtime, please – and lets get even more non-English ones in next time, eh? Where are all the French, German, Spanish and Italian bloggers we should be reading? Where are the Dutch and the Czechs and the Poles? Let us know…