Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

by Fran on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 01:44:14 PM EST
EUobserver / Ruling elite under fire in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Ruling parties in some of the EU's biggest member states are coming under heavy fire in EU election campaigns, giving eurosceptic groups a chance to grab attention.

Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, whose right-wing PDL party is polled to scoop up to 40 percent of the country's EU vote, faced calls to resign on Wednesday (20 May) over alleged links to a corporate bribery scandal.

UKIP's Mr Farrage - emerging to challenge the UK's ruling Labour party

A court in Milan has ruled that a Berlusconi proxy paid British-born lawyer David Mills €435,000 to act as a "false witness" for the premier in a series of fraud trials which implicated the media tycoon. The PM's spokesman said the resignation calls were "politically timed" to damage Mr Berlusconi, who heads his party list.

British eurosceptic party UKIP is to spend €2.3 million in the next two weeks to woo unhappy Labour voters in the wake of the parliament expenses scandal.

"Of the recent inquiries we have had from our first-time buyers [new supporters], around 60 percent of them have come from Labour," UKIP leader Nigel Farrage said, the Times reports. UKIP and Labour are both polling at around 16 percent, compared to UKIP's 6 percent at the start of May.

by Fran on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 01:52:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks EUobs is trying to make a connection where there isn't one...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 04:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU voters don't have Turkey on their minds - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - English

To one voter, the forthcoming European Union elections are a veiled referendum on Brussels as Big Brother. To another, a veiled referendum on Turkish EU membership. Or on immigration. Who's right?

A selection of remarks from the Dutch campaign:

  • "If it's a choice between torture or saving civilian lives, then I say torture" - Eline van den Broek of Libertas.
  • "The interests of the Netherlands always take priority" - Hans van Baalen of the conservative VVD party.
  • "Turkey: never in the EU" - Barry Madlener of the rightwing Freedom Party.

If politicians can't agree what the European elections are about, no wonder the voters are turning away in confusion. But ask the same voters to say what they see as important themselves, and it turns out they do have clear priorities.

by Fran on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 01:55:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another quote:

EU voters don't have Turkey on their minds - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - English

So what is important to the people who fill in the EU Profiler? Firstly, the promotion of sustainable energy, even if it means higher energy prices. Here there seems to be quite a degree of unanimity in Europe, because the issue scores highly in nearly every country.

On other topics, opinion is divided. For example, on the desirability of health care privatisation. In the Netherlands this is barely matter for debate, but in Sweden, Italy, Poland and Austria it heads the list.

by Nomad on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 05:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How the turnout at European elections could be much higher...in 2014 - The Euros
nterview with Simon Hix on the European elections and the shortcomings of the current campaign

Simon Hix is a leading expert of the European Parliament and European elections. His call for more politicization at the European level in order to increase participation stirs the debate about the democratic deficit. In his talk to the `Euros' at the London School of Economics, he emphasized that slight changes to the European elections voting system and to the way European parties lead their campaigns would be sufficient to make the European elections a genuine contest for political alternatives at the European level. In his lively and inspiring manner, he told us about how MEPs perceive their role, about his misunderstandings with British journalists and how the European Parliament should engage in the election of the Commission President. If he was an MEP, we would surely vote for him...

The Euros: Mr Hix, in February, the President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, gave a controversial speech at the European Parliament which incited some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to leave the hemicycle. He claimed that there was a lack of political alternatives at the European level. Furthermore, he argued that the strengthening of the European Parliament could not resolve the democratic deficit but would rather further alienate citizens from the decisions taken in Brussels. If you had been an MEP, I guess you would not have left the hemicycle, would you?

"It's healthy for European democracy that there are people like Klaus", says Simon Hix.

During Václav Klaus' speech a number of MEPs left the hemicycle to demonstrate their disagreement.

Simon Hix: You are right, I wouldn't have left. Despite the fact I disagree with Klaus I think it's healthy that there is a more open public debate about Europe. Although I would like to see more debates about the choices of the future of Europe with a more centre-left Europe or a more centre-right Europe, part of the debate inevitably is what kind of Europe in terms of its design we want. So I think it is healthy for European democracy that we have people like Klaus saying what he says and people having the right to reply to that. And people like Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, who has actually been a very good and a very effective MEP in terms of articulating the views of a wide section of the European public. So I would not have left the hemicycle, although I disagree with what Klaus said.

by Fran on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 01:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This could (should?) be ETs future aim...

nrc.nl - International - Features - Getting Europeans to talk to each other

If one newspaper is read in all European countries it is probably the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times. In second and third place are the Financial Times and The Economist, both newspapers from a country that is only half heartedly a part of Europe.

Europe now has its own currency, central bank, parliament and court of justice. As soon as the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect it will have a genuine president and a foreign minister. Yet, when it comes to getting information about Europe there is not a single transnational medium that Europeans can turn to.

European vacuum

There is no European newspaper that is read by Italians and Czechs alike, no single website where both Spaniards and Swedes go to get their news, no TV news programme that is broadcast to every living room in Europe at 8 p.m. A few German-language media, like Die Zeit or the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, do have some influence beyond their national borders. But there is no Europe-wide debate, not even in the run-up to the European elections in June.

by Nomad on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 05:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh. They apparently never heard of Euronews, EUobserver, EUbusiness. There is a slight non sequitur smell to the intro of this article...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 04:07:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many Europeans have heard of Euronews, etc?

The idea that the IHT is a one-stop source of pan-Euro interest is bizarre, because - well - it doesn't really cover Europe much.

But Wallstrom has - as usual - missed the point that popular Euro-branded media would help create a pan-European identity.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 05:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The idea that the IHT is a one-stop source of pan-Euro interest is bizarre
How can anyone not see the IHT is a newspaper for American expats?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 05:31:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's ruling PSOE has kicked off their political campaign for the Euro elections. The ads have the slogan "This game is being played in Europe". Some posters have the addition "You have been called" (using the same verb as when the coach of the national football team "calls in" players for an international match).

I have seen three large billboard ads. One pitting the main candidates for both PP and PSOE with a message to the effect of "the PP candidate represents yesterdy, the PSOE candidade represents tomorrow". Another poster pits Zapatero and PP's leader Rajoy with the message "fighting the economic crisis / exploiting the economics crisis". The third one just has blue (PP) and red (PSOE) fields with the messages "denying climate change / fighting climate change".

Apparently a TV ad has been rolled out showing conservative citizens from various countries (and in various languages) making statements for the death penalty, free dismissal of workers, against immigrants, against abortion... and ending with "the problem is not what they think but who they vote for". I have a hard time understanding what they intend to say with the slogan but the intent of the ads is clearly to mobilize progressive voters against the EPP.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 04:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a hard time understanding what they intend to say

Isn't it just pre-empting the usual conservative victimology about intolerant leftists denying plurality and freedom of thought?

At any rate, I like a fighting centre-left. I would like it more if (1) it would not have shown its lack of seriousness on global human rights by de-legalising war crimes trials the other day, (2) if it would not have shown its limited commitment to fighting climate change in its road-building policy, (3) if it would not have shown its total lack of fighting attitude in supporting Barroso.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 05:34:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series