French minister convicted of racism

from FT.com – World, Europe
France’s interior minister was facing calls for his resignation after he was convicted in a Paris criminal court of making racist remarks about immigrants of North African descent

Footsoldiers & Generals in European Communication

by Julien Frisch

Martin Westlake, the Secretary General of European Economic and Social Committee, has written a blog post titled “Young communicators and the shape of future communication“.

We have met earlier this week in his office to talk about this topic, and so it is great to see that he continues the discussion online and connects it to projects like “The Hub” here in Brussels.

Iranian minister?s Parliament visit leaves bitter after-taste

from EurActiv.com by Georgi

A dozen centre-right MEPs tried to prevent Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki from entering the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday (1 June), with some of them getting into a scuffle with security guards. Mottaki addressed the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee and held talks with Socialists & Democrats group leader Martin Schulz.

Freedom of speech in Italy threatened by new bill

from Editors Weblog – all postings by Emma Heald

Europe should move to protect freedom of speech in Italy, says media researcher Benedetta Brevini in a Guardian article. Journalists in Italy have come together in recent days to protest the proposed Alfano law, which would limit the media and prohibit the reporting of any information about criminal investigations before the case comes to trial. In response to protests from the public and from politicians, the terms of the bill are being re-discussed.

Belarus gears up for election, David Marples

from open Democracy News Analysis – by David Marples

The Belarusian Constitution demands that the country must hold the next presidential election by February 2011. The incumbent president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, has been in office for 16 years, and most residents, according to a recent opinion poll by Novak, would like to see ?a new face.? But can the opposition provide that candidate, and what are the main issues that preoccupy the electorate in the summer of 2010?

Labour?s Future and the Story of Labour Britain, Gerry Hassan

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Gerry Hassan

The limits of Labour?s understanding of what has happened to it, where it is, and what it should do are becoming clear. This has been given added clarity by the contributions by the current six Labour leadership candidates who have written short manifestos and credos for The Guardian.

All of them display different degrees of ambiguity to the two questions Madeline Bunting poses: was the 2010 election result a good result for Labour or a disaster, and ?how does one treat New Labour?s record ? with pride, apologies or castigating criticism??. In short, does the party need another ?Labour?s lost millions? debate as it had after 1983; and how can it have a nuanced discussion about New Labour?s successes and failures, and ask no matter how supportive or critical, the question: is this as good as it gets for centre-left politics, or is the best yet to come?

Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia make Eurovision Top Ten

from Global Voices Online by Onnik Krikorian

By Onnik Krikorian

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest drew to a close on Saturday in a televised final which attracted around 120 million viewers worldwide. But while some media reported lagging interest in the 54-year-old competition and concerns about spiraling costs in recent years, countries such as those in the former Eastern bloc continue to take it seriously.

Ireland and the EU ? Past, Present, Future

from Stephen Spillane

Germany has new Queen, needs new President.

from A Fistful Of Euros » A Fistful Of Euros by Tobias Schwarz

Earlier today, German President Horst Köhler resigned, effective immediately (BBC coverage). His constitutional successor, and now German acting head of state is Social Democrat Jens Boehrnsen, who is the mayor of the state of Bremen and in this function speaker of the parliament?s upper chamber (Bundesrat). A new President will have to be elected by a special constitutional assembly, the Bundesversammlung, within 30 days. Despite Germany?s Presidency being largely ceremonial, and even though Mr Köhler was a generally popular President during his first term and reelected for a second five-year term in 2009, he recently came under attack for lacking a certain inspirational aura, and, worse for someone who was director of the IMF, lacking intellectual leadership in financially troubled times.

Tracking eurozone crisis measures: Eur-Lex and OJEU silent

by Grahnlaw

Have things improved?

Have the proposals by the Commission been documented as preparatory acts on Eur-Lex and the decisions by the EU or eurozone member states (ECOFIN) published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) with regard to the Greek rescue loans and terms, the European financial stabilisation mechanism and the Special Purpose Vehicle?

EU Council on Digital Agenda for Europe

by Grahnlaw

Brussels correspondents must often feel like being stationed on the Atlantic Ocean to report about the movements of the Gulf Stream: important, but lacking drama.

The end of Berlusconi?, Valentina Pasquali

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Valentina Pasquali

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi?s oversized personality has dominated Italian politics since he was first elected to office in 1994. Despite a struggling economy, an egregious conflict between his business and political interests, a tattered reputation abroad, and, to top it all off, embarrassing sex scandals, media tycoon Berlusconi has managed to keep his hold on the electorate, rising to a position of such unrestrained power that it has some fearing for the Italian democracy.

Bundesbank suspects a French conspiracy

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team

The Bundesbank isn’t exactly happy about the ECB’s decision to start bying government bonds directly from banks – effectively making the once heralded ‘independent’ bank a dumping ground for bad eurozone loans. The ECB has bought some ?25 billion worth of Greek bonds so far.

?Eurovision produces a new form of unity?

from antropologi.info – anthropology in the news blog by Lorenz

?The Eurovision Song Contest is torture to my ears?, was one of my recent Facebook status messages. But as I learnt, the mega event is not primarily about music, it?s a ritual, a transnational social event that connects people and that – according to a recent paper ?produces a new form of unity among people in Europe”.

In the most recent issue of the European Review of History, anthropologist Marijana Mitrovic analyses some of the recent Serbian contributions (2004-2008) to the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC).

Eurozone governance: Why the Commission is right

by Centre for European Reform

By Philip Whyte

The collapse of market confidence sparked by the parlous state of Greece?s public finances is forcing the EU to review how the eurozone is run. This is entirely welcome. The crisis has cruelly exposed fault-lines in the system of governance ? and confidence is unlikely to be restored unless these flaws are rectified. There are profound disagreements, however, about what these flaws are. Broadly speaking, there is a narrow view and a broader one. If the eurozone is to extricate itself from its current mess, it is essential that the broader prevail.

The bailout: a mistake?

by Open Europe blog team

Quite interesting and important comments made yesterday by the former Spanish PM José Maria Aznar. He blasted EU leaders’ response to the Greek crisis, telling Le Figaro that ?it has been a mistake to rule out the restructuring of Greek debt under IMF control. We might have used part of the enormous capital made available by the EU to recapitalise banks. Yet, we have preferred conveying the message that we will not let any Eurozone member go bankrupt, without realising that there are huge differences among countries. A bailout for Greece was feasible, but it would be impossible for a country like Spain. Spain?s bankruptcy would provoke the collapse of the euro, and probably of the EU.”

EU: Convergence programme Latvia

by Grahnlaw

Stability programmes for eurozone countries on the one hand, convergence programmes for member states still without the euro; you can start by reading the background remarks on economic policy coordination in the European Union, in the blog post EU: Useful stability and convergence programmes? (3 June 2010).

EU: Stability programme Belgium

by Grahnlaw

Stability programmes for eurozone countries on the one hand, convergence programmes for member states still without the euro; you can start by reading the background remarks on economic policy coordination in the European Union, in the blog post EU: Useful stability and convergence programmes? (3 June 2010).

EU: Convergence programme Lithuania

by Grahnlaw

Stability programmes for eurozone countries on the one hand, convergence programmes for member states still without the euro; you can start by reading the background remarks on economic policy coordination in the European Union, in the blog post EU: Useful stability and convergence programmes? (3 June 2010).

Hungary: We’re the next Greece… really we are

from FP Passport by Joshua Keating

As most of the attention has focused on Europe’s PIIGS economies, debt-laden Hungary has, for a few weeks now, been the dark-horse candidate for the next European economy to collapse. This week, the country’s new government seems to have been doing everything in its power to reinforce that view:

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