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Jul 052009

There seems to be very few Swedish Euroblogs focusing on an international audience and my own modest attempts are quite irregular and ad hoc. Only recently was  I made aware of an excellent Swedish blog in English language called Mats Engström on European politics  which it is a pleasure to recommend. Mats is a journalist with an extensive experience of European affairs and a very good insight in Swedish europolicies which will be particularly valuable during the Swedish Presidency.  I have been following Mats’ Swedish blog Europabloggen for a long time but, as I said, only recently noticed that he also publishes in English. This one is also more personal and -to be frank- more interesting than the Swedish version which is somewhat constrained by being published by the daily Aftonbladet.

In my personal blogroll of Swedish euroblogs his is the only non-Swedish language one. There may be others but they are not well known.

Nov 212008

Against our expectations the Parliament approved the proposal to ratify the Treaty with 243 yes, 39 against, 13 abstentions and 54 absent (!). We will come back to some very interesting results of the voting. (For Swedish speaking readers information on the voting of the individual parliamentarians is available here. Point 9, click on “Visa ledamöternas röster”.) There will be reasons for coming back to this, for the moment we only note that those members of the government parties who had announced their opposition to the proposal apparently lost their courage since only one of them actually voted “no” whereas others abstained or were conveniently absent. With a somewhat wry smile we note that Marita Ulvskog, designated top Continue reading »

Sep 262008

EU Observers reports that the famous, or rather infamous and certainly badly understood, proposal by the Committee on Culture and Education concerning blogs and bloggers “died on the floor of the European Parliament on Thursday 25 September.” What remains, according to the EU Observer, is a call for “an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs.” The Legislative Observatory, unfortunately, has not yet put the decision on line so non-MEPS will have to wait and see the details of the decision.

In Sweden, but hardly in any other member country, there was a furore against what was seen as an attempt by the “EU” to limit the freedom of expression by bloggers. (See our previous posting on the Swedish interpretation of the proposal and the reactions.) This has to be seen against the backdrop of euphoria in the Swedish blogosphere over a perceived victory Continue reading »

Jun 272008

According to the recent outcry in the Swedish blogosphere and some “liberal” MSM, the European Parliament (or “the EU”?) is going to enforce legislation forcing bloggers to register, publish their photo and name and pay a fee all in order to prevent wrong  or dangerous ideas being spread in an uncontrolled fashion. The initiative comes from an Estonian MEP, Marianne Mikko, who according to Swedish media has not been able to rid her self of her communist background and, according to freedom fighter Christopher Fjellner (conservative MEP), has “a hole in her head.”

EU Observer carries an article which puts things in the right perspective and so does Europaportalen (SW). It may be significant that we have only found one blogger with a knowledge of the facts and a cool head. We have to admit, however, that various statements to the press by Ms. Mikko, an individual MEP,  have been considerably less than helpful  to the sake of common sense.

This is not the first Swedish media storm over alleged EU attacks on personal freedom: News of an EU-tax on SMS and email as well as of a prohibition to sell home-baked cookies at charity events are other recent examples.  A combination of  a lack knowledge of how the EU works, British type tabloid sensationalism and the hidden agenda of a certain group of so-called liberals can make wonders in influencing the public opinion, a very useful thing in these days when the future of the Union is very much at stake.

As far as we can see there has not been any similar discussion in other member states. They are probably more inclined to accept Ceausesculike regulations to use a phrase from a leading Swedish newspaper.

May 192008

Swedish website Europa-Nytt in a laconic statement  (SW) informs its 20000 readers that it is closing down. This site with daily EU-news has rapidly developed into the best source for Swedish language news about Europe. All articles have been categorized so that it has been very easy to check up on what has been happening within a special policy area. In addition, Chief Editor Ylva Nilsson has written longer analytical pieces from time to time , often spiced up with a pinch of sardonic humor – a rare thing in the political discourse.

To publish and manage such an ambitious site is a full time job. After an  attempt, apparently unsuccessful, to finance the site through subscriptions it is now being closed down.  We have written earlier (SW) about the deplorable state of EU coverage in Swedish mainstream media. There is a certain number of Euroblogs, several of them well worth reading, but most of them written from various political points-of-view. Europaportalen is good but remains a forum for debate and discussion rather than for factual information. The disappearance of Europa-Nytt leaves a huge gap in the Swedish EU coverage.

We see a problem of a  democratic deficit here.  To leave the EU coverage to commercialized mass media (reporting whatever sells, preferably negative things or scandals) or to representatives of political parties or organizations is not only dangerous but will invariably lead to a fatigue and alienation of the general public. The disappearance of Europa-Nytt must unfortunately also be seen in such a perspective. It would be, however, unrealistic, not to say unfair, to expect bloggers or journalists to remedy this in a broad and systematic way, solely driven by idealistic motives. But who would be prepared shoulder the financial responsibility?

Feb 292008

I got a couple of useful suggestions after my previous posting on Euroblogging. Jon Worth presents a “pyramid” with four levels of Euroblogs and looks for ways of aggregating or synthesizing this mass of information.  Jon writes the following about the bottom layer of the pyramid:

At the bottom level are the mass of Individual Euroblogs written by single authors, and blogs dealing with one small part of EU politics. People read these if the blog appeals to their niche area of interest, or they happen to know the person writing the blog. These blogs can be a success in their own right, but they are unlikely to generate a mass readership

This is undoubtedly true. While in no way denying the over-riding importance of “portals” or other sites that synthesize the most important information, I am looking for ways of finding focussed and structured information on topics that I Continue reading »

Feb 192008

We continue our cannibalism on Nordic language blogs: This time it is Marianne Ekdahl who draws our attention to a very comprehensive list of Euroblogs on the EurActiv site. The list is is organized in various categories: Commission blogs, MEP blogs, General Blogs, Thematic blogs etc. As far as we can see most important Swedish Euroblogs (except this one ;-) )are listed. In addition we would like to point to the blogroll in Nosemonkey’s EUtopia which is also comprehensive and in addition has he good taste to include A Northern Perspective.

What would be needed now is some kind of aggregator that would make it possible to search all those blogs (and only those) for topical items such as for instance “Kosovo”, “Eurolex” , “Treaty of Lisbon” and so on. Any ideas?