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    July 21st, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere

    This week it’s been a pleasure to see enthusiasm mounting around the French-born idea of founding a collective European blog. On Monday, a few French Eurobloggers and sympathisers met for drinks in Paris to discuss the idea further (read minutes herehere and there).

    Along the initial idea of a collective European blog, another one emerged, that of using the Blogging Portal as a basis for creating a sort of intranet for European bloggers. The blog Se former à la communication européenne makes detailed proposals on how to transform the platform into “Blogging Portal 2.0”.

    As I am part of the Blogging Portal’s team of editors, I’ve been intrigued by this developement. I’m surprised to see that my fellow-countrymen consider the Blogging Portal to be hardly more than a Euroblog aggregator. Blogging Portal is in fact much more than that. The initial editors’ mission -making a daily selection of the best posts amongst over 600 listed blogs- has led to creating very strong bonds between the bloggers who are part of the team. A dozen of some of the most active Eurobloggers have daily online exchanges about how to develop the European public sphere. Together we design and carry out different initiatives during our free time, and without any financing at all. However it’s true that these exchanges and initiatives have been taking place in English so far as this is the only language we all share.

    Interestingly these discussions among French Eurobloggers are emerging at a time when Blogging Portal editors are going through intense discussions about the future of the platform. It’s perfect timing. So, dear Frenchies… would you like to join us in the Blogging Portal? You’d be more than welcome!

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    July 15th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere

    Since I started blogging a year ago, it’s the first time I witness a blog chain in the French Euroblogosphere. Even though I’m French, I’m much better integrated in the English-speaking Euroblogosphere where interactions between blogs happen all the time. One starts blogging about something, another one picks it up, then another writes about both articles, and so on, and so forth.

    A couple of days ago, as a response to the closing of two emblematic blogsSamuel Faure called for the creation of a common European blog to which different bloggers would contribute with diverging opinions on Europe. Then Jean-Sébastien LefebvreGreg Henning and Michael Malherbe replied to him. If you can’t read French, you can still use Google Translate to get an idea of these exchanges. As Samuel kindly asked me to jump in, here is my contribution.

    I’m one of the strongest advocates of the fact that politicising Europe -confronting different points of views and projects- is what will make the interest for Europe grow. In my opinion, this is the positive side of the debate we had in France on the constitutional treaty for Europe. For the first time in France, we had a real debate on Europe! Everybody was talking about it! This is why I find Samuel’s idea interesting.

    However I am not sure that it is the solution we are looking for, simply because the people who would read or contribute to this collective European blog would be people who already have an interest in Europe.

    One of the main issues of the European Union is that it is of interest to very few people who usually gather up in tiny closed in communities, such as that of the Eurobloggers. The Blogging Portal community, which I am part of, was created in order to promote blogs that deal with European affairs. The Blogging Portal has been a tremendous tool for networking the English-speaking Euroblogging community. However, this community rather hardly interacts with Eurobloggers who write in other languages, and does not interact much with the national blogospheres either. Fair enough, it’s difficult to be in different places at the same time. It’s a good thing to develop a network of bloggers who care about Europe but on the other hand, we should avoid the self-referential tendency that sometimes leads us to talk about ourselves among each other.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe we should probably not write only about Europe in our blogs. Let’s write about Europe of course, but let’s also write about other things too. If our blogs only talk about Europe, we will only attract people who are already interested in Europe. If we want to get people interested in European affairs, wouldn’t it be a better strategy to deal with Europe as one topic among others? Let me explain… If we talk about life and generally all kinds of stuff on our blogs,  we will certainly attract a wider public. And if that public keeps on reading us, it’s probably because they like our style and the way we think, no matter what we talk about. Although they might not be interested in European issues at first, they might one day find one of our posts on Europe interesting. So if we write about Europe among other stuff, there is a chance that we actually get more people interested in Europe in the end, isn’t there?

    Update on 19 July: Samuel has responded to the various reactions on his idea. Click here to read it.

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    June 6th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Girl Power

    Looking at people’s reactions to my pseudonym, I have come to realise that unless you are Spanish or French, there is little chance that you understand what it means. So I thought it deserved an explanation.

    First, Europasionaria = Euro+Pasionaria, and not Europa+Sionaria. That should already make things clearer to some of you.

    How did it come up to my mind? I wanted my pseudonym to start by Euro and to reflect what I am. I had thought of it many times, had several ideas, yet couldn’t find something that felt right.

    Then one dark Friday night, it came to me. I am a passionate person, an idealist, a strong woman… I am also of Spanish origin. So the word “pasionaria” came to my mind. Europasionaria was born.

    Alright… but what does “pasionaria” mean?

    Passion Flower - CC Nikonsnapper on Flickr

    Europasionaria: French and Spanish, passionate about politics, passionate about Europe, flower of the European passion… I liked all of these associations of ideas. Besides, I just liked the sound of it. Words with lots of “A”s in them just sound better.

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    May 9th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope

    I’ve often wondered why it was that I was so irresistibly attracted by Europe.

    I’ve always liked learning languages, English in particular – I never got German. When I was a teenager, I remember that whenever there was a foreigner in a group, I would become the designated interpreter, as most often I was the only one able to speak decent English. I liked it. Then I chose not to study languages as I thought that speaking several languages was just something everybody should be able to do. So I chose to study politics, ironically a topic everyone has an opinion on.

    I remember that as a child I wondered what it meant exactly to be French. Did it mean that other people were not French? How was that even possible? And what would it be like to not be French? Yes I was the kind of kid that always asks “why”. That hasn’t changed.

    My grand-father, the sergeant (third one from the left with the kepi hat)

    I remember my school trip to Germany when I was 16. My great grandfather died in World War I. My Spanish grandfather fought in the Civil War and when in France, joined the Résistance. My French grand-father fought during World War II. My parents remember Nazi soldiers coming to their home. So when I arrived in Berlin at the age of 16, I was still quite full of prejudices against the Germans, maybe even more so than most French people. Then something happened. I spent a week having fun with German kids of my age. And I realised something: we might be of a different nationality and a different culture. We might not speak the same language. But in the end, we were not that different. Actually, we were pretty much the same. That’s one of the first times I felt truly European.

    Then I never got rid of the bug. I knew one day I would live in another European country. Since then I have lived in several European countries. Home, Paris, the French feel familiar, and warm at times, but I feel better abroad. I like to be surprised by cultural difference every day I live. I like to go to a party and be able to speak something other than French. That doesn’t often happen at home.

    Where did that irresistible need for otherness come from? Is it because I am myself of foreign origin? Is it because when I was a child I heard my grandfather and my nanny speak Spanish? Is it because right from the start, I knew I was different?

    Wherever it comes from, one thing is for sure: Europe is my passion.

    Happy Europe Day to you all! Follow the “My Europe” blogging carnival on the Blogging Portal.

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