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

by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 12:51:55 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Europe | In search of Europe: Sweden

Sweden's Ikea has useful lessons for EU politicians in managing diversity, the BBC's Jonny Dymond reports, as he tours the continent ahead of next month's European elections.

Sweden is such a delightful place, it seems desperately unfair to focus on just one of its many gifts to the world.

But the question must be asked: has Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings-to-meatballs retail behemoth, done more to unify Europe than the European Parliament?

Perhaps that's the wrong way to phrase the question. Perhaps it should be: how does Ikea manage to unify Europeans around its brand and its products, where the parliament so often fails to do so?

by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 12:59:09 PM EST
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EUobserver / EU election countdown: 18 days to go

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The British parliament expenses scandal could see far-right parties do better than previously expected in the EU elections, polls indicate. Meanwhile, German socialists are keen to block Barroso from a second term at the commission helm.

Smaller parties and the right-wing fringe of UK politics are so far emerging from the ongoing expenses scandal as the least-tarnished, with galloping implications for the make-up of the next European Parliament, British media report.

British PM Gordon Brown - the expenses row could cost his party dear in the EU election

A YouGov poll for tabloid The Sun put the ruling Labour party at 20 percent, the Conservatives at 29 and the centrist Liberal Democrats at 19, leaving a full 30 percent of votes free. A Mail on Sunday survey put Labour on par with the eurosceptic UKIP, with both on 17 percent. A Telegraph survey suggests the far-right BNP could get 7 percent.

by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 01:04:59 PM EST
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BBC - Mark Mardell's Euroblog

In the pretty central square of Plzen (Pilsen), the Czech town famous for its lager, the Civic Democrats are doing their best to pull in a crowd.

As the politicians wait under vast blue umbrellas, party workers hand out blue and white balloons and blue candy floss to the crowd. The kids are captivated and the occasional mum or dad is persuaded to take a leaflet on the European elections.

This party, known here by its initials ODS, until very recently was the Czech government. And they're Mr Cameron's new best chums.

After the Euro elections in the first week of June he wants to form a new group in the European Parliament, breaking away from the Christian Democrat, pro-European integration, European People's Party. He'll need MEPs from six other countries to do it. The Civic Democrats and the Polish Law and Justice party will be the mainstay.

by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 01:05:29 PM EST
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the Czech town famous for its lager

Grr, I know he's writing for ignorant englanders but.. Pilsen is rather more famous for inventing modern beer. Lager is a british adulteration of the pilsener style.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 05:21:52 PM EST
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TH!NK ABOUT IT - european blogging competition 2009 » Blog Archive » Margot Wallström Guest blog post

Thanks for asking me to be a guest.  I find the discussions here interesting and the project itself very worthwhile.  Hopefully you do too!  It's the first time the Commission has supported this sort of a competition. 

With just three weeks left until the European Parliament elections I am pleased to see that things are beginning to pick up around the EU. The media are finally getting around to covering the elections, interviewing candidates and analysing the key issues.  I have done a lot of interviews and presentations, but I think now the public would be better off if media gave their precious airtime and column space to people who are actually running for election rather than someone from the Commission who is not. Hopefully the doomsday predictions of low turnout will be put to shame!  . 

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a shout for Europe event at the Grand Place in Brussels. This was part of the MTV initiative Can you hear me Europe which aims to urge especially young Europeans to vote.  Again, this is a first for the Commission and I'm curious to see how it will work out.  This year, there are 36 million first-time-voters in Europe, and the only way to reach out to them is by adapting to the communication tools that they actually use, whether it's MTV, blogs or Facebook rather than the Financial Times (though we might catch some of them there, too).  An estimated 37 million people have seen the TV clips so far which I think represents good value for the relatively small amount of money invested in the project.  I'm interested in what you bloggers think of it and also of the European Parliament TV ads which are now available on Youtube.  My favourite clip currently however is this one made for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the iron curtain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X87zcC6bntY

by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 01:07:52 PM EST
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First time voters watching MTV?

She's so with it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 19th, 2009 at 03:45:07 AM EST
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Grahnlaw: Europeanisation of European elections?
With 109 blog posts to date in his series on the European Parliament elections 2009, Julien Frisch has done more than several professional organisations combined to inspire a pan-European debate on the upcoming greatest transnational poll ever, with 375 million potential voters.

Frisch's latest post in the series, European Parliament elections 2009 (109): Looking back at 1999 and 2004, concluded that the core messages from 1999, 2004 and 2009 would not change much from the initial assessment:

"The campaign was focused on national topics, the candidates where not known, and the only true European references in the electoral manifestos where similar across all major parties: More democracy, more transparency, better connection to the citizens."

According to Frisch, the only differences in 2009 "will be two additional countries, Libertas, and the emergence of large-scale internet campaigning. Maybe a glimpse at the institutional EP campaign, too. But the conclusions will be very close to those we got in the past."
by Fran on Mon May 18th, 2009 at 01:08:13 PM EST
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