The Euroblog roundup will be hosted at Siberian Light this week, as Nosemonkey’s computer has packed in. Clearly, he should have bought the latest Russian model.
Anyway, without further ado, I bring you the best of this week’s Euro-blogging, with an Eastern twist (plus a bit from France, because they’ve got an election this weekend).
The French are all at the polls this weekend, as the first round of their Presidential election finally gets underway. From what I can gather, it’s not been all that pleasant a campaign. Crooked Timber’s analysis is heavy on the intellectual naked mud wrestling angle, while France Decides 2007 writes about how the election has turned bloody (thankfully not literally – at least not yet) as the candidates have launched themselves at each others throats with gusto.
Nosemonkey has a roundup of the latest happenings as well but, rather disappointingly, the gore count in his post seems rather low.
Meanwhile, Tobais Schwarz at A Fistful of Euros has quite sensibly taken a step back from the whole messy business of electioneering to muse on De Gualle’s une certaine idée de la France, and how France reconciles its position as one of Europe’s ‘rebels’ with its position at the heart of calls for European integration.
The Dustbin of History thinks even bigger than the French – he’s wondering whether the European Union needs a unifying narrative or not.
The ever-excellent Devil’s Kitchen has put together a comprehensive post on the evils of the latest bonkers idea from Brussels. The innocuously named Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia [PDF] (which is now agreed, and no longer just a proposal) is rather heavy handed, and if applied to the letter would actually make legitimate debate illegal as well. EU bloggers in particular should watch out – there’s a section in there that specifically applies to you…
Scrap the CAP is the call from Czech blogger Tomas, who wants to replace it with incentives for entrepreneurial activity. He wouldn’t get an argument from me, although I imagine pretty much every Russian farmer out there would be hammering down the doors of the EU en masse if they knew just how much government subsidy was on offer.
Blogging in the Czech Republic isn’t just about the ordinary people, you know. Aktualne.cz, the biggest Czech news portal has recently asked about 70 “celebs” (from various fields, mainly politics) to start blogging.
Apparently, the Czechs have even got a blogging President (Václav Klaus, who blogs in both Czech and English).
The Polish government continues to try and reconcile itself with its Communist past, in a way which makes most liberals wince. This week they’ve announced that hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens in positions of authority must detail in writing whether they co-operated with the Communist government. Those that fail to do so risk losing their jobs.
The Finnish cabinet lineup has been completed with the addition of Ilkka Kanerva, “a domestically experienced and internationally mediocre former KGB-informant” as Foreign Minister and Paavo Väyrynen, who “had always very warm relationship with the Soviets” as Foreign Trade and Development Minister. Aapotsikko isn’t best pleased with the choices, although I imagine the lads in the Kremlin will be drinking the finest Finnish vodka in celebration…
Devious Diva writes about discrimination against the Roma in Greece. With perfect timing, Romantic explains the difference between various groups of Gypsy, of which the Roma are just one.
One of Europe’s forgotten, but frozen conflict zones may have taken a step closer to a political settlement this week. Russia and Moldova have apparently done a deal over the future of Transnistria. Kosmopolit reckons the deal is weighted in Russia’s favour – so does Economist blogger Edward Lucas.
Moving on to happier things – Lyndon writes about the Moldovan web awards.
Montenegro is well on its way towards EU membership, writes Douglas Muir at A Fistful of Euros. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have noticed. Douglas goes on to assess how close to EU membership Montenegro’s Balkan neighbours are.
I was going to resist the temptation to cover Russia in this roundup, but it seems like it’s not just the Kremlin’s reaction to Boris Berezovsky’s recent comments that was heavy handed. Apparently, British government’s reaction was symptomatic of the slow death of free speech in the United Kingdom, too.
Finally, a success story for Belarussian bloggers. Their hard work has raised more than $7,000 required for the release of Dzianis Dzianisau on bail. He was in jail for disturbing public order, by raising a white-red-white Belarussian flag on a pole overlooking a local park and amphitheatre in Vitebsk.
OK, that’s it for this week. Normal service will hopefully be resumed next week, as (IT hiccups permitting) the Euroblog roundup returns to its spiritual home at Europhobia. If you’d like to be featured in next week’s roundup, email your submission to EUroundup [at] gmail [dot] com by next Sunday lunchtime.