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

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:28:57 PM EST
France 24 | British, Dutch voters kick off European election | France 24
British and Dutch voters were the first to go to the polls in four days of European parliamentary elections, amid concerns of widespread rising euroscepticism and high abstention rates.

AFP - Four days of voting for the European Union parliament started Thursday with the continent's leaders braced for high abstention rates and protest votes which could boost extremist parties.

Britain and the Netherlands started 27 nation election in which 375 million people are eligible to take part. The turnout and the impact on national governments are the key stakes in the election.

Several extremist anti-EU right and left wing parties hope to pick up votes and even a few seats in the 736 member assembly.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:32:59 PM EST
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nrc.nl - International - Wilders big winner of Dutch EU elections
Geert Wilders and his populist Party for Freedom (PVV) appeared to be the big winners of Thursday's elections for European parliament in the Netherlands. Exit polls released soon after the Dutch voting stations closed at 9 p.m. on Thursday evening predicted he would get four of the 25 Dutch seats in the European parliament, making the PVV the second largest of all Dutch parties in Brussels.


The other party in the Netherlands to be strengthened by these elections is the left-wing liberal - and most outspoken pro-European party in the Netherlands - D66. It grew from one to three seats in the European parliament. The boost for these two parties showed that Dutch voters are moving to the fringes of the political spectrum.

Labour, one of the three parties who make-up the ruling coalition government in the Netherlands, suffered a blow and lost four of its seven seats. The Christian democrats, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende's party, looked set to retain five of their current seven seats.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:15:41 AM EST
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EUobserver / Majority of MEPs do not `tweet'

The European elections, starting today, have not led to a boost in MEPs' use of the Internet and most of them still believe traditional forms of communication, such as television or newspapers, are more effective, a survey has shown.

A large majority of parliamentarians - some 75 percent - use a web page to communicate with their voters, and they also rely heavily on the Internet for research (93% use search engines daily, especially Google, to understand legislative issues).

MEPs need to make sure they use the internet extensively to communicate with their electorate, says the study

But many of them have to still open up to social online media, such as Facebook or Twitter, a survey by communication consultancy Fleishman-Hillard has found.

Thirty-three percent of MEPs use the social media networks "extensively" and 20 percent - occasionally, but 29 percent "do not use them or do not plan to use them."

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:35:59 PM EST
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Europe's Unpopular Elections: Who Is to Blame for EU Voter Apathy? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Voter turnout for this week's European parliamentary election is expected to be the lowest since direct elections began 30 years ago. Is this the fault of the parliament itself? Inadequate media coverage? Or are national governments failing in their responsibility to educate the electorate?

The European election campaign is out of this world. Literally. Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne is beaming down a message from space calling on his fellow Europeans to vote in this week's European parliamentary election. "I have arranged to vote by proxy, so I won't miss out on the next European elections while I'm up here," he announced from the International Space Station in a video transmitted on Wednesday, adding somewhat unconvincingly: "Europe looks united from up here."

This plea from the cosmos is just part of a big PR offensive the European Parliament press office is hoping will get out the vote from June 4-7. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and video site YouTube have been harnessed to connect with young people; press releases are fired out on a daily if not hourly basis extolling the virtues of the European Union; star footballers Olli Kahn, David Villa, Luis Figo have even been recruited to lure Europe's sporting fans to the voting booth.

After all that hard work, however, the looming election seems to have whipped up all the excitement of a cricket match on a wet Sunday afternoon.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:39:11 PM EST
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Romano Prodi urges voters to 'save Italian dignity' - Times Online

Romano Prodi, the former Italian Prime Minister, has broken his silence over the scandals engulfing his successor Silvio Berlusconi and urged Italians to "save Italian democracy and dignity" by voting for the centre-left opposition in elections this weekend.

Mr Prodi, who has stayed out of politics since the defeat of the centre-left in national elections a year ago when Mr Berlusconi and the centre-right won a commanding majority, said he was stepping in because of "the intense increase in numerous signals of alarm and questions from so many foreign friends and observers about the democratic quality and declining dignity of our country - signals that I have gathered painfully while working internationally."

The increasingly embattled Mr Berlusconi last night said he would "not give up" but would "take this country forward". Appearing on Porta a Porta, the main evening chat show on RAI, the state television network, he dismissed reports that he was thinking of calling early elections. It is the second time since the row over his relationships with young women broke that he has appeared on the show.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:43:34 PM EST
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EUobserver / German MEPs test legal limits in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Two prominent German MEPs are testing the limits of free speech in their EU election campaign, while Polish politicians compete for attention on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism.

Top German Liberal candidate, the attractive Silvana Koch-Mehrin, whose smiling face graces the party's numerous posters ahead of voting on 7 June, finds herself in Germany top newspapers over her attendance record in the European Parliament.

Free speech: one German MEP sought limits, while the other is happy to cross the line

In April, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that her attendance in the EU assembly was just 38.9 percent. Ms Koch-Mehrin complained that her time off for maternity leave had not been factored in and had a temporary court injunction - since lifted - taken out against the paper preventing the unflattering attendance figure, taken from an unofficial website on MEPs' records, from being mentioned.

Meanwhile, she testified that the real figure was 75 percent. Official European Parliament statistics in May cited 62 percent, however, prompting speculation about whether the MEP lied under oath as well as a wider debate on the pressure that politicians put on media if they do not like coverage.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:49:09 PM EST
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European Parliamentary elections: A farce without the fun of Eurovision

Eurovision, pop's music biggest kitsch and extravaganza show, a cultural Chernobyl, is a wildly popular event and a testimony of the overpowering dominance of low mass culture in the age of globalization. With its overriding emphasis on the predominance of effect and standardization, Eurovision represents or reflects the thoughtlessness or the content of the thought of a mass-consuming society whose members take a pleasure in meaningless pleasures and seek, either consciously or unconsciously, to escape from the burden of individual freedom and social praxis by allowing themselves to be docile and content.

European Parliament elections... rotate in the opposite direction from Eurovision: colorless and dull, they are characterized by low turnout and voters use them either to punish or protest the policies of their national governments.

by paving on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 09:55:57 PM EST
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