Category: Kosmolinks (page 1 of 2)

Kosmolinks #22

Cameron at the Mercy of European Events

Excellent piece by Simon Nixon on David Cameron, the Tories and Europe. The lack of any coherent EU strategy and the focus on short term gains has left David Cameron at the mercy of events – and in the hand of his eurosceptic backbenchers.

Don’t Blame the Euro Mess for Britain’s Plight

Please note the disclaimer at the end of the article. But the point remains valid: “U.K. policy makers should stop blaming the economy’s plight on the crisis in the euro zone and engage in deeper soul-searching about the country’s enduring economic weakness. Britain’s economy has actually shrunk fractionally more over the past year than the euro zone’s has. Over the past two years, the euro zone’s economy has grown by a total of 1.1%, Britain’s by only 0.2%.”

(PS: Two excellent pieces on Britain and the EU in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. Interesting)

Europe at a crossroads: what kind of Europe do we want?.

William Hague makes the case that we need ‘flexible European integration’ to embrace ‘diversity’. He also thinks that “less is more” and that the European Parliament is useless – oh – and that the UK is interested in EU Foreign Policy (he did not mention the Canada embassy sharing story and the constant undermining of the EEAS)  But nevertheless,  it is his first substantial speech on Europe in quite a while and he is surprisingly pragmatic and polite (quite an achievement!).  Read it – it is a good summary of what the British government is trying to do.

Media coverage of the European Union is key to understanding eurosceptic attitudes within the UK

Interesting research project by Benjamin Hawkins on the British media debate on the EU:  “There are two principal frames evident within eurosceptic discourse: the EU as a foreign power and the EU as a bargaining forum.”

Kosmolinks #21

  • There is a Free Software Users Group in the European Parliament http://epfsug.eu

Kosmolinks #20: WikiLeaks

Kosmolinks returns with a selection of the best wikileaks/cablegate articles/links. (see my initial reaction on cablegate/wikileaks here and some links to Julian Assange’s writings here). The in aim in this post is not to provide an overview about the mainstream media coverage  but to highlight a few interesting articles and links that I found helpful in thinking about wikileaks.

Memex 1.1 » What the attacks on WikiLeaks tell us.

Wikileaks, Now « zunguzungu

WL Central- An unofficial WikiLeaks information resource

Reporters Sans Frontières – Wikileaks hounded?

A list of Wikileaks Mirrors and a guide how to support Mass Mirroring

Raffi Khatchadourian: No Secrets Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency (The New Yorker)

Like It or Not, WikiLeaks is a Media Entity (gigaom.com)

The Weakest Link: What Wikileaks Has Taught Us About the Open Internet | an/archivista

Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com

Kontrapunkt: Schafft zwei, drei, viele Wikileaks! – Meinung – Tagesspiegel

List of people who have criminalised Julian Assange

PdFLeaks: Carne Ross on the Diplomacy Before and After Wikileaks | techPresident

PdF Presents: A Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom | Personal Democracy Forum

From Wikileaks to OpenLeaks, Via the Knight News Challenge | techPresident

Richard Stallman Kettling Wikileaks | DefectiveByDesign.org

WikiLeaks has created a new media landscape | Clay Shirky | Comment is free | The Guardian.

The age of the WikiLeaks-style vigilante geek is over | Evgeny Morozov | The Guardian.

[FYI: This linkroll will be updated regularly – so if you are interested in the topic make sure to check back from time to time. ]

Quote of the day: Andrew Marr rants like a blogger…offline!

Andrew Marr:

A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting.They are very angry people.

OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk.

But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night. (…)  Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.

Kosmolinks #19

Today is Europe Day and there is a #myeurope blogging carnival! Time for a special issue of “Kosmolinks“. If you follow me on twitter – most of it will be familiar. Anyway, a few  weeks ago I attended the GARNET conference “EU and international affairs” in Brussels. Here is a very subjective summary and a few quotes I wrote down. Assuming the conference was held under the Chatham House rule I will not reveal any names (with the exception of the keynote speech by Barroso)

What did the Belgian daily De Standaard write when the Treaty of Rome was adopted?

This could be something important…

And another classic EU quote:

there are two categories of countries: the small ones and the ones that do not realise that they are small (Max Kohstamm)

Let’s start with the EU foreign policy basics.

Other continents play chess, the EU plays ping pong…

… working without strategy has its merits but time is changing and it does not work anymore…

EU integration can then be defined as a “method of not having a strategy”

About the EEAS:

It looks like a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is organised as a MFA, it works like a MFA but it is not called MFA? Well, it is still a MFA!

The future:

Did we learn the lessons to deal with “future Afghanistans”?

Enlargement has been one of the most defining characteristics of EU integration:

Enlargement a EU foreign policy tool?  No: enlargement is enlargement.  Foreign policy is foreign policy.

But remember:

EU enlargement can also happen by splitting up member states….

So, what is the European Union?

A super-Switzerland

EU geek fact of the day:

There are 19 references to the UN in the EU Treaties.

A universal quote for every decision maker:

I fully understand that political decisions are time consuming, but…

EU in 2010:

It has been a very bad year for the European Community: it was totally replaced by the European Union

If you need a good name for a committee you are about to set up what about:

EGFA = Expert Group for Further Action

Some quotes by José Manuel Barroso (the keynote speaker) who  does not like “the intellectual glamor of pessimism”:

this academic conference reminds me of the time when I still had the time for reflection.

EU is not a federal state. Comparisons with federal states will be disappointing. Good results if compared to international organisations  or other regions regions

We are a non-imperial empire.

Realists are wrong most of the time. Realism is the closest thing to cynicism.

If Europe does not get more united it gets more dis-united.

Foreign policy starts at home.

I quote the Lisbon treaty because I believe that the Member States have read it before they signed it…

The EU interest is more than the sum of the national interests.

Kosmolinks #18

  • This looks interesting. Don’t forget the other 5 parts! “Kevin Cyron, an American living in the Russian Federation who recently graduated with a Masters degree in Sociology from St. Petersburg State University, has agreed to Russia Blog publishing his thesis titled, “The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism (doc)“.

  • More on the difficult relationship between Britain and the EU: “Britain is becoming semi-detached from the rest of the EU – and an establishment in denial of the political nature of the European project is to blame, argues Peter Sutherland”. Also read the response by Certain ideas of Europe here.

  • An opinion piece by Lisbeth Kirk: “In a word, the danger is not so much that the EU is perceived as undemocratic but that it is seen as increasingly boring and irrelevant.” She continues by asking “What if the US were like the EU?”

  • The European Commission will publish a progress report later this month, hopefully with some clear statements regarding corruption. A strong statement could be to trigger the safeguard clauses…

  • The Black Sea region, once on the periphery of European consciousness, has become the next frontier in transatlantic strategic thinking in terms of energy security, trade, migration and other key policy areas. In this volume leading international experts examine the new dynamics of the Black Sea region, including perspectives from the region, trans-regional issues such as energy security, cross-border conflicts, democracy, civil rights, the rule of law, and future relations with Russia, the EU, NATO and other key actors.

  • EU – Russia relations: A period of stagnation (2003–2006), followed by a period of depression (2006-present)…

  • The formation of a new government in Serbia offers modest hope of progress in its path to European Union membership, say Daniel Korski & Ivan Zverzhanovski.

  • Is the label “euroscepticism” misleading? The idea is that labels such “anti-EU” or “anti-Europe” would be more suitable to describe “Eurosceptics” since most people that would put themselves in this category actually oppose any Europe wide approach. Very interesting thought!

  • Interesting essay by Saskia Sassen: “It is surprising to see the high price in terms of ethical and economic costs that powerful ‘liberal democracies’ seem willing to pay in order to control extremely powerless people who only want a chance to work. Immigrants and refugees have to be understood as a historical vanguard that signals major ‘unsettlements’ in both sending and receiving countries.”

  • Populist movements are a threat not because they raise the issue of direct democracy, but because they advocate nationalist mobilisation based on xenophobia, writes Antony Todorov. Given the failure of the leftist projects of the twentieth century, it is telling that far-right populism is more anti-democratic in the new democracies of central and eastern Europe than in western Europe. Is populism identical to the crisis of democracy or rather a symptom of it?

Kosmolinks #17

  • The referendum: populism vs democracy

    The idea of the referendum as an instrument of the people’s will rests on pre-democratic foundations, says George Schöpflin. I certainly agree!

  • A better way with referendums

    Interesting idea: Is it possible to introduce a more deliberative approach when holding a referendum? Does “deliberative polling” make citizens more knowledgeable?

  • Instead of bullying the Irish, Europe should be working on plan D – and E

    Timothy Garton Ash actually favours the “Nice plus” arrangement.

  • Yes, they could

    What went wrong for the German Social Democrats? And how can they recover? – Although the article could focus more on the second question it makes a few good points. However, it seems to me that Kurt Beck is the wrong person to deliver “change”… unfortunately the same can be said for a large part of the SPD leadership!

  • WIA Report » Blogger Arrests

    Quite a shocking report: “Unfortunately, one way to assess the political importance of blogging around the world is through the growing number of blogger arrests. Since 2003, 64 citizens unaffiliated with news organizations have been arrested for their blogging activities.”

  • Centre for European Reform: Tough choices to avoid euro-paralysis

    Hugo Brady proposes the most likely outcome of the “EU crisis” after the ‘No’ in Ireland. And he mentiones one interesting point: “Many voters do not see the continuity between EU treaties and think that old guarantees are over-written by new texts.”

Kosmolinks #16

  • Joschka Fischer has no hope anymore…

  • Wolfgang Munchau – Europe’s hardball plan B for the Lisbon treaty

    “An alternative would be a referendum with a differently worded question, such as: “Do you want to remain in the EU on the basis of the Lisbon treaty?” Of course, this bundles two questions many people would like to answer separately. Yes, stay in the EU, No to Lisbon. But folding the two into a single question is politically more honest because it is Ireland’s only real-world choice.”

  • Robert Kagan – In Europe, a Slide Toward Irrelevance

    Robert Kagan’s take on the Irish ‘NO’ – basically what you would expect from him, but also with a few good points.

  • The fear factory devastated Ireland’s flaccid political class

    “You forgot us in Shannon.” — “Our sons are too good-looking for the army” –“right-wing Catholics” — “leftwing anti-militarists” — “a mysterious group that emerged from nowhere with a great deal of money to spend” — “Imported British Euroscepticism” — “a very efficient factory of fears” — “an extensive menu of anxieties” — “the scattergun of negativity only had to hit one sensitive spot”

  • Will Hutton: Europe must not be derailed by lies and disinformation

    “On top of these there is the political problem that the treaty can’t be rewritten to accommodate specific Irish concerns because it already does; Ireland’s ‘no’ campaigners told lies. The voters’ great concerns had been met. There is a specific protocol that guarantees Ireland’s neutrality and excuses it from membership of any joint European defence effort, if any surfaces. There is no possibility of Ireland being told to enforce abortion. And all states have autonomy over tax policy.”

  • “The Irish ‘no’ – like the 2005 French ‘non’ – shows a clear poor/rich and urban/rural divide. Working-class and rural voters are systematically voting against further European integration. European leaders should take note.”

  • A handy round-up about the Irish ‘No’ in the blogosphere…

Kosmolinks #15

  • “A fashionable idea is circulating among Balkan-watchers: “Belgianisation”. This is not meant to suggest complex federalism. Instead it implies that different nationalities whom history has left sharing a state are at last behaving like Belgians, reaching for ballot boxes and courts, rather than guns and bombs.”
  • It is gonna be a close race. And it seems that No voters don’t know anything about the treaty: “The reason most often cited by No voters is that they don’t know what they are voting for or they don’t understand the treaty – with 30 per cent of No voters listing this as the main reason for their decision.” I have argued before that referendums and uninformed publics do not go well together, moreover referenda over several hundred pages of legal text will never cause any enthusiasm… Let’s see on Thursday…

  • The logo of the French EU presidency…it is actually quite ugly…

  • “The west could be sleepwalking into a war on the European continent. Georgia, which burst into view with a moving display of democratic ambition during the Rose Revolution of 2003, is teetering on the brink of war with Russia over the separatist Georgian enclave of Abkhazia. The outcome of this crisis – involving a fledgling democracy with aspirations to join Nato and the European Union – will help determine the rules of the post-cold-war security system. But western diplomats are not sending strong enough signals to either side.”

Kosmolinks #14

  • The state of the elites in Eastern Europe. It seems as if especially anti-corruption agencies and justice ministries are very reform resistant. Or as the Economist puts it: “Yet from the Baltic to the Balkans, even politicians facing the most startling accusations of corruption seem not to suffer at the polls. A bit like Italy, really.”

  • “A survey made amongst Romanian judges showed that most of them don’t consider corruption as being a serious crime. “It’s not like you kill someone. And how can I sentence someone to many years of prison for corruption, when I have to bribe myself nurses and doctors if I go to the hospital”, said a judge as quoted by a German expert who ran the survey.”

  • A Chatham House Report that sets out ten key policy recommendations for the EEAS.

  • A customized google search drawing on 172 websites (at the moment), including EU Blogs, Industry Federations, NGOs, Think Tanks, etc. Brought to you by the guys behind “Blogactiv”. It is certainly an interesting tool, however, it would be very helpful to have access to the list of these 172 websites… otherwise it is a bit difficult to suggest new content!

  • Another critical analysis of the developments during 8 years of Putin written by two former ministers.

  • Indeed an argument that should not be forgotten despite all the shortcomings of the EU…

  • After 18 months of opposition, the 27 European Union member states finally agreed to launch strategic partnership talks with Russia. But how did the EU manage to get its act together? – A Lithuanian diplomat explains the procedure: “Now all of our concerns have been put into the annexes, we are happy.”

  • The latest “news service” discovery and it looks as if it could become my favourite news aggregation page…

  • “This issue of the Russian Analytical Digest analyzes Gazprom’s strategy toward foreign markets. It considers Gazprom’s perspective on international markets and examines the natural gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, the publication includes statistics on Gazprom sales and the Russian–Ukrainian natural gas trade.”

  • Undergraduate essay on the concept of sovereignty with an emphasis on “internal sovereignty” with chapters on history, Jean Bodin, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, French Revolution, Soviet Revolution, National Socialists, Liberal democracy…

Kosmolinks #13

  • “Leak of latest European Commission proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, known as the ‘health check’. These proposals will form the basis of an internal Commission discussion on 14 and 15 May 2008. The agreed proposals are due out later in the month.” –  Is this the first online leak of an important EU document?

  • A new balkan blog with this hilarious post: “In the early days of the siege of Sarajevo in the mid-1990s, a photo of a half-ruined post office with three items of graffiti written on its wall captured the imagination of the world. The first graffito read “This is Serbia!”; the second stated “This is Bosnia”. And someone scrawled underneath, “No, you idiots, it’s a post office!”

  • Very interesting article about Jeffrey Berman, Barack Obama’s director of delegate selection…

  • Andrew Duff (MEP) on the Lisbon Treaty and the upcoming referendum in Ireland and why the Irish eurosceptics are wrong.

  • “Global Power Europe” makes the case for a more decisive European approach towards Ukraine. And this “firm commitment” is EU accession..

  • Another shocking story on human rights in the US: “The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.”

  • A CEPS research paper that looks at “serious limits across three strands of democracy policy – the magnitude of incentives offered in return for democratic change, the degree of critical pressure exerted for democratic reform and the scale of European democracy funding.”

  • This interactive map developed by CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth Europe shows 50 damaging projects planned or already underway in Central and Eastern Europe at a total cost to EU taxpayers of €10 billion.

  • The new Lisbon treaty is (probably deliberately!) very vague on the issue of a EEAS (European External Action Service). Indeed, clarity is something else, as some of the rather basic things still need to be solved, for example the interaction between the Council, the Commission and the member state staff, the role of the European Parliament, the formal title of the head of the missions and the formal title of the delegations…as well as the question “where the EEAS and the foreign policy chief will be situated.” Luckily, only in 2010 the final proposal need to be finalised.

  • Good and comprehensive analysis of the election results in Serbia.

  • “Do we—Europeans—have the political vision and will to make it happen? Do we want to remain the shapers of history, or would we rather continue under the delusions so ruefully picked apart by people like Kagan?” (…) On the present trajectory, of declining European military budgets; ill-equipped and under-prepared armed forces; poorly crafted foreign and security policies, particularly on the part of European Union Member States like Germany, Italy and Spain, one could be forgiven for thinking that the European Union’s future looks rather bleak. And as Kagan warns us, we need more than hope to prove them wrong…”

Kosmolinks #12

The “Kosmolinks” are finally back, and with the help of diigo I will try to make it a weekly feature! You can also watch and navigate through a slide show of all live pages of “Kosmolinks”: Just click here to start the “WebSlides”!

Kosmolinks #11

Today’s main topic is of course Kosovo, the World’s Newest Country. DJ Nozem sums it up with a ‘pinch’ of sarcasm: Another Show of Unity

I have been looking at some EU news services lately and as a result I created a EU universe (www.netvibes.com/eu) which brings together most of the available official EU – RSS feeds. So please tell me what you think about it! Although there are numerous (but quite hidden!) feeds on the europa.eu page, I still wonder whether the Commission has realised its potential here. Most of the times, traditional press releases are put into the feeds. But RSS could be used to track policy proposals within the Commission (green paper- consultation-white paper). Anyway, I will cover this topic more extensively in another post later this week!

Now there is also a social bookmarking service for EU related news and blogs: Eurovalley, give it a try, of course everything is still in beta! eufeeds has a collection of over 300 newspapers and it is updated every 20 minutes: interesting idea but unfortunately there seems to be no easy option to export an individual feed or a selection of feeds. Have you ever heard of the Europe Media Monitor? It seems to be one of these hidden Commission projects but I must say it looks quite promising especially when you need to monitor EU news.

So lets turn to our “favourite” treaty….Nicolas Whyte writes about the Lisbon Treaty here and the ISN wonders whether the Lisbon treaty makes the ESDP more Coherent and Capable? Stanley’s blog asks: EU Foreign Ministers: an endangered species?

Two interesting articles regarding EU funds and budget: Fraud and responsibility for EU funds on Jan’s EUblog and EuropesWorld: Why the EU may never get its accounts straight

What is a “Societas Europaea (SE)” ? It took the EU 30 years to decide on it…and now, there are only around 150 SE in total (EU-wide). But things might improve as local businesses becoming more ‘European’, well at least in the Czech Republic.

Richard Lewis blogs about Frattini’s proposals regarding tougher EU immigration rules. America plays divide and rule is a fascinating article on a diplomatic fight. And the “quote of the month” award goes to Jonathan Faull, a European Commission director general:

“We don’t negotiate matters that are dealt with in Washington with the state of California. That would be disrespectful and we expect the United States to be similarly respectful of our law and system.”

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Kosmolinks #10

Here we go again! A (small) selection of interesting links I collected during the last few weeks:

Two articles that remind us of the last couple of years in US politics: Think Progress » The legacy of Bush’s presidency & Iraq: The War Card – The Center for Public Integrity

Here is an interesting article on The Unravelling of Russia’s Europe Policy

Brendan Donnelly writes on the Social Europe Blog about The Reform Treaty and its Impact on the EU Institutions

ECAS blog asks: Why are there transitional arrangements for Romanian and Bulgarian workers?

The Centre for European Reform analyses Poland’s bold new foreign policy

And last but not least, two research papers: The role of UK academics as security
‘experts’ for news media
and Leading think tanks in the world (.pdf)

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Kosmolinks #9

Goodbye 2007, hello 2008!

So, what happened last year? … of course a non exhaustive list ;-)

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2007

An Interview with the “Person of the Year 2007″: Putin and the Time Magazine

Can it get any better? well, we have to wait and see:

Awaiting us in 2008…

The world in 2008: a year and an era | openDemocracy

The EU will have to deal with the ratification process of the “Treaty of Lisbon”:

The Treaty of Lisbon – How much ‘Constitution’ is left? An Overview of the Main Changes

Understanding the Lisbon Treaty

Last but not least, an interesting article about Italy:

In a Funk, Italy Sings an Aria of Disappointment – New York Times

…… and a happy new year to everyone! :D

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