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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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    November 16th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Girl Power

    The launch of a new good Euroblog is always a source of joy and hope for the blogging advocate that I am, even more so when it’s written by a woman!

    So I’m very happy to announce this week that two of my EU Girl Geeks mates are either launching a new blog or revamping an old one:

    Ladies, congratulations and long live your blogs!

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    July 26th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Girl Power

    Rosie the blogger - CC Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com, after J. Howard Miller

    With the folks at the Blogging Portal, we ran a funny experiment last week. Editors nominated their favourite Euroblogs and ended up with a list of 30. Then Blogging Portal users could cast a vote online for their top 5 Euroblogs. The results were announced yesterday.

    I’m happy to see that at least one female Euroblogger made it to the final top 5. Congratulations to Lobby Planet‘s author for her continuous quest for trying and making the EU look funny. We need more light-toned Euroblogs, and we also need more female Eurobloggers.

    I’ve analysed the top 30 through a gender lens (see full list below). If you leave out the collectively written blogs, which have both male and female authors, there are 6 female bloggers in the list as opposed to 18 male bloggers. That’s right, just one quarter of the nominated blogs are written by ladies, this is even lower than the gender balance ratio of the current European Commission. This is not too bad but it could be much better. As French feminist blogger Olympe points it in a reaction to the Wikio classification of top political blogs, women are as underrepresented in the blogs that are deemed influential as they are in high positions in politics and at work.

    Generally women are not as comfortable voicing their political opinions as men are. I see this at every conference I go to, when it’s question time, only men dare speak. Surely not because they have more to say but because they are more confident that what they think is of interest to others. Ladies, your opinion matters. Whatever you write, you will find an audience, your very own audience. So, get blogging!

    I’m still surprised each time I publish a blogpost to see that people read what I write and that they are not my family and friends. I’m flattered that my fellow Blogging Portal editors nominated my blog as one of their favourites, and even more so that I actually made it to the top 10 of the readers’ favourites! See, just like many ladies, I still lack confidence in the value of what I do.

    I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on this blog before but in the same spirit, with my Twitter friends Kattebel and Linotherino, we launched the EU Girl Geeks network last year. EU Girl Geeks is a group of women who combine a geekiness that is both linked to techie stuff and to the EU bubble. Thanks to the genius IT skills of Linotherino we have now a website where we list blogs about Europe that are written by women. Have a look and feel free to suggest other blogs we might not yet know of! We are also on Facebook and Twitter. By the way, we are meeting this week for drinks and dinner so if you are geekie and girly, feel free to join!

    Results of the Blogging Portal's poll on your favourite Euroblogs

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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 30th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere

    There must be some weird planet conjunction at the moment as some of the most renowned Eurobloggers are either calling it quits or moving to pastures new. Yesterday Julien Frisch announced he was stopping his blog. Today Charlemagne announced he would stop blogging under this pseudonym, would move back to London, and start blogging about UK politics. Jon Worth announced a couple of weeks ago that he would move back to London too.

    As a Euroblogger and a Blogging Portal editor, I feel like an orphan. What will happen to the Euroblogosphere without some of its most emblematic bloggers? I hope new Eurobloggers will emerge. Kosmopolit already spotted a new one today called Ooh, Brussels! Time for a new generation I guess. So come on people, do you like to write? Do you want to have your views heard? Do you want to shake up EU affairs? Don’t hesitate! Open a blog! Now.

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