Eurosphere roundup: the German Pirate Party on the rise,

Can pirates shake up European politics?

Pirate Parties On Course for Historic Election Wins

from TorrentFreak by Ernesto

Founded in September 2006, the German Pirate Party has already booked several successes in its relatively short existence.


German Pirate party overtakes Greens in new poll

from Hurriyet Daily News
Germany’s upstart Pirate Party has overtaken the Greens to become the third strongest political grouping in the country, according to a new poll.


Quoi? ?Unlawful? tweets could undermine upcoming elections in France

from The Next Web by Robin Wauters


Does Europe need a foreign policy?

from Ideas on Europe by ecfr
– by Hans Kundnani
Does Europe need a foreign policy? That was the interesting question raised by at a discussion on the European Foreign Policy Scorecard we held in Copenhagen recently. It began with some introductory remarks by Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal, who welcomed the Scorecard as a useful basis for a discussion European foreign policy. Next, former Danish climate change minister (and ECFR Council member) Lykke Friis raised some interesting questions about how to define foreign policy and suggested some ways in which she thought Europe could do better. But Bo Lidegaard, a former adviser to the Danish prime minister and the editor-in-chief of the Danish newspaper Politiken, wondered whether we might be taking the wrong approach to European foreign policy altogether.

French Presidential Election, 2012

from Stephen Spillane by Stephen


French election: A tale of two presidencies

from – Analysis
As Nicolas Sarkozy bids for a second term, he offers a record of reforming zeal followed by a shift to crisis management, says Hugh Carnegy

Energy efficiency: Made in Denmark, exportable to the rest of the EU?

by Centre for European Reform
by Stephen Tindale

Denmark uses energy more efficiently than any other EU member-state. Successive governments have implemented ambitious and consistent policies on energy efficiency since the oil shocks of the 1970s. As a result, Denmark today only uses 60 per cent of the energy per unit of GDP of the EU average. Thus it was no surprise when in January the new Danish presidency of the EU?s Council of Ministers identified a draft ?energy efficiency directive? as one of its priorities for its six-month term. But Copenhagen?s efforts look unlikely to lead to agreement before the end of June, when the Danish presidency ends. Several member-states, including Germany and France, are trying to weaken key aspects of the draft directive. The Danish government?s desire to oversee agreement on the ?energy efficiency directive? is understandable. But a ?lowest common denominator? agreement would be worth little. It would be better for Copenhagen to stick to most of the Commission?s proposals, and remind its partners that in the long run these reforms would save them billions of euros. Where necessary, Denmark could point to its own experience to underline the point.

Spain takes centre stage

by Open Europe blog team
It was a torrid day for Spain in the markets yesterday, borrowing costs soared (the 10 year topped 5.96% at one point) and the Spanish stock market plummeted. As we predicted last week, fears over the Spanish economy are beginning to crystallise in the minds of investors.

So what triggered the market fears yesterday?

Euronews becomes EU Commission propaganda channel

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz

In a blog post over at Decrypter la communication européenne, Michaël discusses the buy-in of the European Commission into the content of the news channel Euronews. According to Michaël, with a global yearly budget of 6.5 million Euros, any Commission directorate general can buy short or long magazine contributions or series each to be aired 15 times on the channel.

Pretzel swastikas and Döner killings: are Germany?s best intentions becoming its fatal flaw?, Elizabeth Grant

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Elizabeth Grant
The importance attached to maintaining the narrative of a tolerant Germany elides some uglier cultural symbolism – as evidenced by the media sensationalism of the ‘Döner killings’. It’s time for a more productive discussion of prejudice
The recent exposure of a neo-Nazi cell in the small East German town of Zwickau has cut to the quick of a country that has, in the decades since World War II, applied its famously rigorous nature to the task of soul-searching.


The Balkans: Remembering the Bosnian War, 20 Years On

from Global Voices Online by Veronica Khokhlova
A red plastic chair for each person killed in Sarajevo in the war that began 20 years ago. A whole street lined up with red chairs, all empty but for some flowers on some of them. Those who could have sat in these chairs – 11,541 people – are long gone.

France: Taking a Stand for Regional Languages

from Global Voices Online by Thalia Rahme

[All links are in French, unless stated otherwise]

On March 31, 2012, several simultaneous events took place in France’s major cities, driven by the overarching goal of showing an unfailing support to regional as well as indigenous languages. These demonstrations took place three weeks prior to the French presidential election and showed a strong citizen commitment in favor of the recognition of regional and indigenous languages.

Belgian far-right emulates the Dutch xenophobic website (News)



Eight months after the English riots: young lives blighted by punitive sentencing, Sophie Willett

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Sophie Willett
The punitive judicial response to the riots has left a lasting legacy of damage and stigma
Faded photographs of young faces still decorate police and train stations as a last ditch attempt to find rioters who evaded the police last August. For many, the 2011 English riots are a fading memory. For the people still serving their sentence for their part in the riots, it is something they will never forget. Who are these people? What will become of them?


France: a politics out of time, Patrice de Beer

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Patrice de Beer

The tragedy in Toulouse has changed the atmosphere of France’s presidential-election campaign. The emergence of a left-wing candidate makes the first-round outcome even harder to predict. But beneath the drama, the country’s politics remain far behind a changing society, says Patrice de Beer.

MAIN FOCUS: New row over Falkland Islands | 04/04/2012

from euro|topics

On Monday, which marked the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner reasserted her country’s claim to the British group of islands. But Argentina has no chance of success, commentators say, calling on Argentina and the UK to sit down and talk to each other once more instead.

Italy’s Reforms: Monti Fires The Starting Gun

by Open Europe blog team

Italy’s unelected government has entered one of the most delicate stages of its tenure. Mario Monti and Italian Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero (in the picture) have just presented their key proposals for reforming Italy’s labour market.

Greek unrest after man’s suicide

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition

Protesters clash with police in Athens after a pensioner kills himself outside parliament, reportedly leaving a note blaming austerity measures.

A useful lesson as to why the EU shouldn’t decide who has access to our phone and internet records

by Open Europe blog team

So, the Coalition seems to have backed down on imposing new powers overinternet surveillance, opting for a ‘consultation’ on draft plans, rather than pushing for a full Bill.

CIA-led extraordinary renditions, secret flights and detention facilities in EU territory

from Blogactiv by Europe of Human Rights

A few days ago, on the occasion of the new own-initiative report, the European Parliament?s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) held a public hearing entitled ?What is new on the alleged CIA illegal detention and transfers of prisoners in Europe?? The hearing showed that there was still a lot of resistance among member states to disclose information or investigate and settle allegations, but the truth is inevitably coming to the surface. In the absence of state delegations, the representatives of NGOs presented new developments and evidence with respect to CIA-led extraordinary renditions, the secret flights network and detention facilities.

German geo-economics and security challenges

from Blogactiv by gergelyvg

It is nothing new to see European defense spending trailing behind that of the United States, or lately, as I wrote in an earlier post, that of other emerging parts of the globe. Although many tend to emphasize the decades old transatlantic gap between the US and European allies, the disparities between European nations defense spending are equally challenging for NATO and the EU common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). What is new in the current economic crisis is the extent to which it is having an impact on also the relatively better performing members of the Alliance, such as the UK, France, the Netherlands, or Denmark. From a broader geopolitical perspective, with their share of European defense spending and capabilities, the impact of the British and French defense cuts is of course the most significant development. To name just one significant feature of the impact of austerity, the UK will not have an operational aircraft carrier until at least 2012, the ultimate symbol of the capability for power projection.

On the road to #rp12: European blogging in Italy

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz

In 2009, Italian blogger Luca Conti said in an interview that he was ?afraid a European blogosphere will remain a dream? because news markets were mainly national and participation in European Parliament elections were low:

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