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    March 15th, 2011EuropasionariaBrussels, Life

    I’ve been quite silent on this blog in the past two months… This is because I’ve moved from one commune of Brussels, Etterbeek, to another commune of Brussels, Ixelles. In Paris the town’s districts have numbers; in Brussels they have names. Where it gets complicated is that there is a Brussels commune called Brussels. It’s Brussels, Brussels, the oldest district of the city. It’s tiny. All around it, the communes have different names. I am now a proud inhabitant of Ixelles, Brussels, where you can find some of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings.

    9 & 11 rue Vilain XIIII © Fonk/Twitter

     

    Finding a place in Brussels is not that difficult … but a move is a BIG DEAL. You’ve got to find boxes, kind friends to carry them, a moving van, a driver, sign all kinds of paper at the bank, cancel your Internet subscription – which took me half an hour over the phone, find a new Internet provider – it took me a month to get the connection active, terminate your current renting agreement, clean up the mess that’s kept on growing in your old place for years, buy furniture, assemble your furniture, tell the various organisations and institutions that still like to send you post mail that you’ve moved, go register at your new commune, etc, etc, etc… as my favourite online cartoon Hyperbole and a Half put it, you kind of feel like that every day for two months: “I did three things yesterday! Now I’m supposed to keep doing things? It’s like the things never end!”

    To make a long story short, I’ve been busy preparing my move for a month, and I’ve been Internet-less since then. Tough for a blogger. The good news is: I should finally get the Internet tomorrow. Hurrayyy!

     

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    March 15th, 2011EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Europe

    Or is it the opposite? Last week with fellow Blogging Portal editor Ronny Patz, we became the first bloggers to be granted an accreditation from the Council. Actually, it was also the first time bloggers got press accreditation to a European institution.

    A blogger tweeting with a press accreditation. Welcome to 21st century communication!

    We covered the Competitiveness Council for 2 days – well actually Ronny covered 2 days, I could only cover the second morning. This happened thanks to the spokespeople of the Hungarian presidency aka Kovács & Kováts, whom we’ve met a few times since the beginning of the year to discuss the activities they could do online. Trust was built throughout these initial meetings. And with a little push from our two supporters, we got offered accreditations as a pilot project. This time only Ronny and I could go. Well yes, the other bloggers are either not Brussels-based or had day commitments they couldn’t get away from.

    Dana_Council, EU Girl Geek and Council insider, showed us around the building and even gave us the opportunity to visit the Council meeting room, yes the one where you usually see Nicolas Sarkozy giving a pat on the back of fellow heads of State.

    Then we spent most of our time in the Council’s press room – well one of the many Council press rooms – following the Council live, tweeting and blogging it (read here our coverage of day 1 and day 2). It was fun to be there with journalists, interesting to see how they work and to get a feel of the overall vibes of a Council.

    For the sake of the blogosphere, we behaved so hopefully this pilot will open the door to more regular blogger participation in this kind of event. But then, what bloggers should get an accreditation? What should be the criteria? This is quite a Pandora’s box. Many discussions have already taken place on this topic and many will in the future. I’d be interested in knowing your views on that.

    From our experience at the Council, I see a few bloggers’ qualities that can bring value in getting them to cover European institutions’ events:

    • We don’t have a format constraint. We can blog as we wish, about what we want, using the tone we like. As a consequence, what we do is more spontaneous and human.
    • Being outsiders, we have a different view on things. We get surprised at the things around us and talk about details of the institution’s workings journalists wouldn’t cover for news outlets as it would probably not get the interest of a wide public.
    • One big plus was our live tweeting. Minute after minute we tweeted details of the Council and our impressions. As @Wed2EU put it, we helped EU geeks stay much closer than usual to the Council’s action.

    I hope we opened a door. Let’s see what happens in the future!

    Would you like to know more? Mathew Lowry is keeping track of all that’s written on this pilot project.

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    February 7th, 2011EuropasionariaEurope

    The spokespeople of the Hungarian presidency have reached out to the Blogging Portal editors to start a discussion on how to use online media to talk about the Council’s work. It has to be said that they got in touch with us long before the controversy around the Hungarian media law started, and that these people are not entitled to speak about it as of course, it’s a national matter and their mandate is to talk about EU matters.

    After long debates within the Blogging Portal editor team, we decided to go and see what they wanted to talk about with us.

    A small delegation of us went and met them a week ago. We had a great meeting, truly fun and inspiring. After 2 hours of open-hearted conversation, Gergely Polner, our host, stood up and I realised he was wearing trainers, something that was quite in contradiction with the classic suit and tie outfit he was wearing. Yes diplomats wear trainers too… because they are people too, just like the rest of us. Something most commentators of public life often forget.

    Gergely Polner and Marton Hajdu have decided to open up a blog to share their experience as spokespeople of the EU presidency. It’s called Kovács & Kováts as a reference to the Tintin characters of Thomson and Thompson, Dupond and Dupont in French. The challenge: telling their own experience of the Council using the voice of people and not only that of institution representatives. Their initiative is truly innovative. Older generations of diplomats might consider it a “faux pas”, as Kovács & Kováts put it on their blog. Indeed, diplomats just as any other civil servants are not supposed to express their personal views on things. So how can they open a blog where articles are by definition personal? It is quite a challenge, indeed. But, actually in today’s world there’s not really another way. So long live their blog and let it show the way to future Council presidency spokespeople.

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    January 16th, 2011EuropasionariaLife

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    January 12th, 2011EuropasionariaBrussels, Euroblogosphere

    There were lots of familiar faces at the Butterfly Europe event this afternoon.

    © Joseph Boss

    When you are an EU geek -by that I mean a person who is both active in EU affairs and in social media- you tend to attend any single event that talks about both. And as social media is the “it” subject in the EU bubble at the moment, there have been many of these events in Brussels in the past months. So when you are an EU geek, you tend to always see the same people around, be it online or offline. As Antonia and a few of us EU geeks put it today on Twitter, at the Butterfly Europe event, the usual suspects were attending and some of them were speakers too. We are indeed a bubble inside the bubble. No surprise there: the EU bubble is already small enough that the group of people in this bubble who are also passionate about social media is inevitably smaller.

    Amongst the EU geeks usual suspects who attended Butterfly Europe, there was a shared impression that the discussions turned around in circles, and that somehow, any event we go to talks about the same things amongst the same people. Being of optimistic nature, I look at things in a different way.

    First, if we get the impression that nothing new is said in the social media events we go to, well that’s actually a good sign for us on a personal level. It means we know our stuff! As early adopters of social media in the EU bubble, we are and always will be ahead of others who are only starting to develop an interest in it.

    Then, of course the usual suspects were there. We know each other, appreciate each other and naturally gather and chat when we are at these kind of events. Here comes the bubble effect… but gladly, there were also plenty of new people at this event, let their tweeting commence!

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    January 12th, 2011EuropasionariaGirl Power, Quote of the week

    Go for Excellence, sweetie. It’s not a crowded field.

    It’s from Aunt Lola on Twitter. She’s older than you and she knows better.

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    January 9th, 2011EuropasionariaBest of the Web, Politics

    I’ve found this amazing video on Macarena’s blog, La oreja de Europa. In just a few minutes it tells you what the hell is going on in Belgium and it’s also incredibly funny. Good stuff, Belgium!

    Do you want to know more about Belgium? (subtitled NL/FR) from Jerome de Gerlache on Vimeo.

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    January 6th, 2011EuropasionariaEurope, Girl Power

    I’ve found on Un Européen jamais content this promotional video of Hungary, sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary. According to that footage, the Hungarians invented a lot of useful stuff such as the automatic gearbox, the autoexposure still camera, the refrigerator, the articulated bus, the soft contact lenses, gramophone records, Excel, and the colour TV set.

    Wow! What a great country, right?

    I liked this video. I thought it was good. Very good promotion indeed… until minute 6:45 where after informing us about all the great things Hungarian men invented they tell us, randomly, that… they also have “the most beautiful women on earth”! First, that’s probably far from true. Then, why do they need to say that exactly? Is that a touristic attraction? It’s totally out of place. Sorry, it completely ruined it for me.

    PS: I love Hungary. Fun people, good food, great wines, fantastic lake Balaton, and also the ugliest men on earth… just kidding 😉

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    January 4th, 2011EuropasionariaQuote of the week

    The euro blogo/twitter/facebook sphere is a resonance chamber for sufficiently switched on EU institution actors to assess just how hollow their words can sound.

    Can Web 2.0 help save the EU from itself?, posted on the IABC’s Ning

    Next Web2EU event is on 17 February. Are you coming? Web2EU is where EU geeks meet – and where the EU Girl Geeks actually met in real life for the first time.

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    January 4th, 2011EuropasionariaLife

    This is an incredibly motivating video and all of that in only 1:18 minutes.

    I’ve found it on Céline Camoun‘s blog, which I’ve just discovered and that I highly recommend!

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