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

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:45:22 AM EST
Egged: Czech opposition leader attacked at European Parliament election meeting - Telegraph
Czech activists pelted the leader of the leftist Social Democrats with hundreds of eggs at a rally on Wednesday ahead of European and national elections.

The eggs flew as Jiri Paroubek, the opposition leader, and his entourage addressed a pre-election meeting in Prague.

"We won't let this discourage us. Shame on you," said Mr Paroubek, as yolk dripped from his chin and belly.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:52:03 AM EST
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No explanation offered beyond that Paroubek is said to have annoyed Czech youth by supporting the closing of "a techno party" four years ago.

But photos of egged faces.

Eggs for the Telegraph! Splat!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:06:36 PM EST
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Union washed up on an island of bliss | Presseurop

Only 21% of Austrians intend to vote this June 7th. Europe, with its open borders, leaves its timorous citizens longing for the days when this "small, beautiful, prosperous" land was "an enclosed garden plot", argues Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi.

A foreign fellow-journalist asks: Why are such a disproportionate number of Austrians against the EU, though the country has benefited so much from being part of the Union? And why do such a disproportionate number of Austrians vote for far-right parties? In the run-up to the EU elections over the next few weeks, plenty of foreign observers are bound to ask the same questions. Here is a stab at an answer.

The past few decades have quite unhinged Austrians. After World War II, they had for all intents and purposes bid farewell to world history, the most recent chapters of which clearly hadn't done them much good. The First Republic comprised the leftovers of a multinational empire that had fallen apart in World War I. Later they had half volens, half nolens joined the German Reich, which also ended in defeat. The upshot: Austrians holed up in their small, beautiful, prosperous land. Under the bell jar of neutrality they felt safe and secure from the trials and tribulations of the outside world. They retreated to an island of bliss.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:52:22 AM EST
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Free love or a Union of like-minded souls? | Presseurop

With a low turn-out predicted for this June's European elections, Dutch and Romanian political parties are going for the electorate's funny bone - with gadgets, gags and innuendo.

"I fancy having intimate European relations". So goes the slogan on condoms the Green Party has been distributing in The Netherlands - a pun on the Dutch word for sexual intercourse, gemeenschap, which also means "community" depending on the context.... "Humour or despair?" wonders columnist Willem de Bruin in the Volkskrant. That pleasure can help promote the European project, which right now doesn't really "arouse" many young people, is a matter of course in a country known for its laissez-faire mores - and low turn-out in European elections.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:54:37 AM EST
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Socialists lose monopoly on socialist policies | NRS-Import | Deutsche Welle | 28.05.2009
Banks are being nationalized, CEO's salaries are being curbed and the financial system is being restructured. Those policies were once associated with socialists. So why are left-of-center parties not sweeping elections? 

The latest opinion polls ahead of the upcoming elections for the European Parliament paint a familiar picture. The European conservatives are expected to remain the strongest bloc in the assembly with the socialists again being relegated to second place, a position they have held since 1994.

It doesn't look much better for socialist parties at the national level either. Currently they lead governments in only eight out of 27 countries and the prospects for a reversal of that trend are not good. According to recent surveys, they face an uphill struggle in many upcoming elections, some of them in large European countries such as Britain and Germany.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:55:44 AM EST
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French Socialists in Crisis: Archrivals Royal and Aubry Attempt Show of Unity - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Support for France's Socialist Party has plummeted lately, partly due to the fierce rivalry between party boss Martine Aubry and ex-presidential candidate Segolene Royal. The two tried to bury the hatchet for a European election rally on Wednesday. But for how long?

The technician with the local radio station had a vital role to play on Wednesday evening. He was measuring the audience applause and cheers at a rally in the Trocadiere music hall in the French town of Rezé near Nante, using a digital recorder to see which of the two speakers got the better reaction: Segolene Royal or Martine Aubry.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:56:45 AM EST
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EUobserver / Estonian man casts first online vote in EU history

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - An Estonian man has become the first person in EU history to vote online, as internet campaigns make their mark on the 2009 elections. But a throwback in Northern Ireland has seen canvassers threatened with a gun.

Vahur Orrin from Tallinn cast his vote in Brussels one second after the virtual polling station opened at 8.00am local time, with the moment captured on video for the YouTube file-sharing website.

EU history was made in Brussels at 8.00 on Thursday morning

Voting has also begun early in Finland and Sweden, with Nordic and Baltic countries leading the game in terms of helping geographically-scattered voters cast remote ballots. The Lithuanian government has in another first also opted to give official media accreditation to bloggers covering the vote.

In France, centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy has attracted 106,000 "friends" on his personal page on the Facebook social networking site. His nearest rival in terms of online popularity is far-left leader Olivier Besancourt with 17,000 friends.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:00:48 PM EST
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Er... Shouldn't it be Olivier Besancenot ? </Fact checking, dead science snark>

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 05:26:12 PM EST
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Ah, excellent, how fitting. Estonia there, home of infamous black-hat internet provider Esthost.

I wonder: when will we see the first elections compromised by trojans installed on home PCs by the Russian-sphere malware gangs?

by bobince ([and](at)doxdesk(dot)[com]) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:35:26 AM EST
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Or by Americans. After all, the CIA and related groups have a long history of manipulating foreign politics when it suits them.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:57:17 AM EST
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EUobserver / Socialists list 'terrible' potential MEPs

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - In a provocative move ahead of next week's EU vote, the Party of European Socialists have listed "a selection of terrible European election candidates" from other political parties.

The list, published on Thursday (28 May), contains eight nominees from the centre-right European people's party, one from the liberal group, two others - a Dutch politician and the head of Britain xenophobic British National Party, Nick Griffin.

The Socialists' blacklist comes just one week ahead of the European elections

A twelfth space has been left for the "Dear Reader" to fill in.

There seems to be no fixed criteria for appearing on the list, and the reasons given differ in length, content and seriousness.

Mr Griffin, on the list due to have being convicted for incitement to racial hatred and Holocaust denial, appears alongside Romania's Monica Macovei, a former minister of justice, who is down for "being a perpetual critic of the justice reform pace in Romania" and being a "controversial person."

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:01:16 PM EST
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Even allowing for the fact that this is from EUO - whoa. The PES PR mojo is really cooking.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 08:00:29 AM EST
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Anti-immigrant and Europhobic - far right parties ride populist wave
By Ian Traynor, guardian.co.uk

In Europe's biggest port, where nearly half the population of 600,000 is of immigrant origin, Geert Wilders appears to be knocking on an open door.

The platinum-blond, Islam-baiting populist is soaring in opinion surveys in the Netherlands, hammering the anti-immigration message to double his ratings this year to the point where his Freedom party is challenging to be the strongest in the country, according to a leading weekly tracking poll.

Wilders' acolytes are also poised to enter the European parliament for the first time after elections for the EU's sole democratically elected institution, covering 375 million people across 27 countries, take place next week...

Wilders' success represents, in part, a souring of traditional Dutch enthusiasm for the EU. It also appears symptomatic of a broader insurrectionary mood across Europe that is expected to favour extremists, ­mavericks and populists in the voting taking place over four days from next Thursday. Overt racism and the calculated use of Nazi language are featuring in what is otherwise a lacklustre campaign.

by Magnifico on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:38:27 PM EST
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Beppe Grillo's Blog
For the European elections there's the need to talk about Europe. To put forward a programme. Instead, I just see manifestos with the Centre that is neither on the Right or the Left (*). Big posters with more Left, more Right, more Moderate than the Centre Left. So many big faces with "bimbi" in tow (but was it not forbidden?). Nothing about Europe. It's not an election campaign, but a road map.
Brussels is the cemetery of the elephants. The most deficient get sent abroad as has happened with Albertini and Occhetto. It's a "Club Med" to have a holiday well away from national political crises. The unpresentables, convicted like Pomicino, or on trial like Mastella, are rewarded with the highest salary in Europe. Is this Europe useful to us? We know nothing about Europe. The European Commission has no power. If it doesn't even manage to get the "Rete 4" verdict respected. To get Fede out of our hair.
Obscure European functionaries place their signature (like taking dictation) and every year send billions of Euro to Campania, Calabria and Sicily. Our money, paid with our taxes. No real control from Europe. No verification from the Government and from Parliament. Guess where the money lands up. Guess why the Lega stays in religious silence. Billions of life annuities for organised crime while there's a lack of money for Abruzzo, for schools, for security, for health. For everything! Even for the flying squad police who can only give a single truncheon blow before going on strike.
In Italy, the dialect is coming back. We no longer know how to speak Italian. When they go to Europe, our representatives express themselves in gestures. The European Central Bank does what it wants. Economic policy, capital flows, investments are decided by a group of people. Who are these people? Who gives them the authority to cause the failure of rice cultivation in Italy or the wine production in another country? It's a Europe founded on the euro, a supermarket that always has new shelving. Without a common social policy, without an army. A Europe occupied by the Americans since 1945. From 63% of voters in 1979, it went down to 45.7% in 2004. The European voter is starting to disappear. Participation is born from knowledge, from transparency. Raise your hand if you know which laws have been voted on in the European Parliament and why they were put forward.
To change Europe, there's a need for new faces, for new air. Luigi De Magistris and Sonia Alfano are my candidates for Europe. If they are elected they have guaranteed me that they will make visible on the Internet all the funding assigned to Italy (8 to 9 billion euro a year), who gets it, and what they really do with it. And this for the whole of their period of office. Luigi and Sonia are honest people who are presenting themselves as independents for Italia dei Valori.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:00:34 AM EST
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