The Week in Bloggingportal: Alive and Kicking
Bloggingportal’s back for another year of European twists and turns – so I hope you’ve had a relaxing winter break, because this year will be an even bigger roller-coaster than the last! Hungary’s media law is as controversial as ever, with Orban leaving a visually and politically striking impression of distain in the European Parliament. It certainly seems like we’re talking about the politics of other EU countries as never before – a sign, perhaps, of an evolving European public opinion? Well, if it is, we at Bloggingportal want to be a part of it. We will be meeting with some representatives of the Hungarian rotating presidency later this week, so if you send us any policy questions you might have, we’ll try and put them to the presidency. It’s important to make sure that those who represent us are doing their best working for us, though it’s not always a simple question of office hours. As ever, we should take off our hats to those who work to make interaction with the Bubble more possible, despite the distances, language barriers and trolls.
Rights aren’t only about holding government(s) to account, though: they are also about the sort of society we live in. Should we just learn to respect each other’s profound moral views, or are there issues too fundamental to agree to differ on? Rights are certainly at the core of how Europe sees itself, but this ideal of a European bastion of fundamental rights is increasingly tarnished. The ECHR has just delivered a judgment on how we deal with asylum in Europe, and the verdict is damning – with some saying that it shows how incapable we are dealing with asylum seekers. In the wake of this will the EU, with Hungary at the rotating presidency’s helm, be able to improve the sitaution?
The start of 2011 has shown us, if nothing else, that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The artistic installations in the Justus Lipsius building are turning into some of the most well known and controversial pieces on the continent, reminding us how dear symbolism is to our hearts, particularly in our relations with each other. In our external relations, the world hasn’t stopped moving. Enlargement is still proceeding forward – you might even say that the enlargement glass is half Fuele – and across the Mediterranean, revolution has broken out, forcing us to reconsider our approach, and perhaps demanding a bit of soul-searching when it comes to our luke-warm support for democracy abroad. It’s not only relations in our near abroad that deserve some scrutiny: further afield our actions beg some questions too.
In 2011 it may not be the diplomatic face of Europe that causes the greatest interest, but the internal workings. The Common Agricultural Policy, in perennial need of change and reform, seems to have a Commissioner who has a few ideas how things should be done. But will they be done? At the end of last year the European Parliament tried to win some more influence over the direction of the EU’s long term budget, and received some assurances of inclusion from the next few rotating presidencies. No doubt with or without the Parliament there will be a brawl over the infamous CAP. More urgently, perhaps, is the direction of the Eurozone economy and how to stem the debt crisis (it hasn’t gone away, you know). Part of this will be the appointment of a new President of the European Central Bank – whether he or she is a hawk or a dove, I just hope they’re good at economics. It’s so hard to find anyone who knows about the subject these days.
Whatever way the new year takes us, it’s clear that there’ll be plenty to blog about in the coming weeks!