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Category Archives: Society & Culture

2012: The year in which the Commission realised the existence of online social networks

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The following are quotes from the Commission meeting minutes of 22 February 2012 from their debate about ACTA: “[Reding] concluded by highlighting the rising influence of social networks on the Internet and the need for the Commission to take account of this in its communication policy and in dealing with various dossiers. Instructions had already been given to the […]

Cathy Ashton and her spokes-Mann: An International Women’s Day observation

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Today, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton has issued two statements, one on the conflict in Sudan and one on the International Women’s Day, the latter with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa. The statements issued on Sudan is introduced with: “The Spokesperson of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security […]

#28c3: “The coming war on general purpose computation” as THE 2011 speech

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Take all of the political speeches of all EU Commissioners, all Members of the European Parliament, all Presidents of any of the EU institutions in 2011 and all other talks of EU officials, EU lobbyists and so forth on innovation, technology, the internet, globalisation, democracy in the 21st century. Now replace all these speeches with […]

The European Year of Citizens 2013: What are the other years?

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The Commission has proposed that 2013 shall be “The European Year of Citizens“. I already find “European Years” in general a quite ridiculous concept, but this one is plainly, and I excuse my choice of words, stupid. If a European Year is meant to do something, then to focus the attention on something that deserves more […]

Nannies as food business operators under EU regulations? – No response from Dalli’s spokesman Frederic Vincent

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On Thursday, 1 December, I contacted Commissioner Dalli’s spokesman Frederic Vincent via email with the following request: “Dear Mr Vincent, according to German press reports, day nannies in Berlin have been contacted by the local youth welfare offices asking them to follow detailed reporting rules as they are to be considered food entrepreneurs under the […]

Europe in Blogs and Social Networks @ #ViaEU – Going local instead of European?

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There was one question/remark by a professor who attended my talk on “Europe in Blogs and Social Networks” yesterday – the pre-workshop blog posts are here and here – that quite hit the nail on the head. His question was in how far blogging/social media actually impacted EU politics. And he added that if blogging/social media […]

A Union of Choice: Why the Greek referendum opens our eyes

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The Greek referendum is an eye-opener for all of us, no matter if it will happen as announced yesterday by Greece’s prime minister Papandreou or not. It is an eye-opener because it suddenly makes visible the complexity of issues that are intertwined in what is a set of local, national, regional, European and global crises. […]

The European Parliament Prize for Journalism 2011: A #fail in the internet category [updated]

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The winners of this year’s European Parliament Prize for Journalism have been announced today, and the jury’s choice for the winning text in the category “Internet” is what one might call a #fail on the internet. Now, let me say that this is not a critique to the winner of the prize who wrote a […]

‘The shady side of sunlight’ – a reply to Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen

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Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen‘s paper “‘The shady side of sunlight’” for the Annual Conference of the European Group for Public Administration tries to argue why transparency is bad and problematic. His view seems to be based on two main arguments: If there is more transparency, government will be demystified and people become cynical. If there is more […]

Are we getting a European party system?

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The Guardian just published a nice timeline-map visualisation on “how political shifts have altered the map of Europe” mainly showing the change of political left-right majorities across Europe over the past 40 years. Let’s complement this with an academic perspective: Through the analysis of 264 elections in 30 European countries (EU-27 + Norway, Iceland and […]

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