The Week in Bloggingportal: March 1st – March 7th 2010

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of The Week in Bloggingportal. This will hopefully be the first in a series of posts from the Bloggingportal editorial team that adds some context to our front-page choices and serves as a place for public discussion of the site. We’re aiming for greater transparency and openness, so this will be a chance for us to explain our choices and why we think they are worthy of your attention.

This first edition of The Week is written by Joe Litobarski – who reads English, French and Italian. In later editions we’ll hopefully have all the editors pitching in, including those that have highlighted non-English blogs, but for this first week I’ll only be talking about the English blogs and will have to skip the German highlights.


The week began with Stanley Cossick’s analysis of US-China-EU relations; his post was chosen because it was a good summary of the general issues facing the relationships between what he calls the “triumvirate” of world powers. But is it right to include the EU as a world power, or are we living in a G2 world?

A couple of mainstream media blogs rounded off Monday. First, Tony Barber of the Financial Times was impressed by Herman van Rompuy’s speech last week. It was chosen because van Rompuy’s speech was an important one, and not well covered elsewhere in the mainstream. Barber, however, did not pick up on the fact that van Rompuy did not mention Baronness Ashton once in his speech, despite speaking rather a lot about foreign policy (supposedly her remit). In fact, Barber finished his article with a little sting criticising Ashton’s speech writers.

The always-excellent Charlemagne of The Economist was the second mainstream media blog chosen by our editors. Charlemagne started by rebuffing critics of Baronness Ashton (perhaps including Tony Barber of the FT) for wanting her to be “Nicolas Sarkozy in a skirt.” This post was chosen because Charlemagne gives a fantastic outline of the problems facing a European Diplomatic Service. It’s also worth reading for the great anecdote about EU diplomats holding meetings in sealed glass boxes suspended from the ceiling of  embassies in Beijing in order to thwart Chinese espionage.


Julien Frisch, a member of our editorial team, had a blog post selected on Tuesday (in case you’re wondering, Bloggingportal editors never select their own blogs for the front page – but they are sometimes chosen by other editors). This post was chosen because Julien draws attention to “probably the most significant” document to be leaked concerning the EU’s position on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). If you’re interested in the issue of internet piracy and the EU’s response, then you should read this document.

A post from the EU media law blog The Content and Carrier was chosen on Tuesday. It’s a short post, but it was selected because it points out some glaring errors in a Financial Times article. This is Euroblogging at its finest – pointing out the flaws in mainstream coverage. The mainstream media is proud of being able to deliver breaking news first and dismisses bloggers for only giving commentary. In this case, the mainstream media may have broken the news, but the bloggers put it back together again.


Wednesday’s post was from the brilliant OpenDemocracy website. David Coombes, Professor Emeritus of European Studies, put forward the controversial notion that the European Commission is more democratic than the UK cabinet. This post wasn’t necessarily chosen becase the editors agree with it, but because it offers an alternative argument to the one that charges the EU with a “democratic deficit.” Personally, I don’t see the Commission as being more democratic than the UK cabinet – not least because the British public are actually engaged with their government in a way they aren’t with the EU.


Thursday’s post was from the German Marshall Fund blog. It was about the political manouverings of Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko, and it was chosen because Belarus is so often ignored and misunderstood by the mainstream media in Europe.

Also on Thursday, Julien Frisch posted a link on his blog to a hilarious video by US comedian Stephen Colbert about the financial crisis in Greece. The video demonstrates that European politics can be just as funny as American politics; which begs the question – why don’t we have a comedy show for the EU? Rapport de Steffan Colbért?


Julien was providing more comedy on Friday with a surreal post satirising the EU’s new 10 year economic strategy. Herr Frisch has proved once again that he can be a very effective clown in the EU geek circus – making serious criticsm behind his bizaare mockery. You should definitely read his post.

The Open Europe Blog was also chosen on Friday. Their post was chosen because it brought up the interesting (although probably unlikely) possibility that any bail-out of the Greek government could be blocked as contrary to EU law.

Finally, EU Pundit gave a good summary of the failure of EU law to protect three Google executives recently convicted by an Italian court because somebody (completely unconnected to the Google execs) uploaded a video to their service showing the bullying of a disabled schoolchild.


Was apparently a day of rest for the Bloggingportal editors.


The European Geostrategy blog was selected on Sunday. Specifically, a post discussing the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Britain and Argentina in the context of European global strategy. It’s an interesting post, but I wonder if it leaves itself open to charges of neo-colonialism – especially when it suggests making a grab for Arctic resources opened up by climate change and the melting of polar ice-sheets. Still, certainly a post worthy of a quick read.

That’s all for this week! We hope you’ll join us next Sunday for another Week in Bloggingportal. Comments and criticism below.

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