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Interested in how technology is changing politics?
Oct 18th, 2009

Then come to the Personal Democracy Forum in Barcelona on November 20-21!

For six years, Personal Democracy Forum has been THE place in America where politicos and technologists gather to learn from each other, network, and glimpse the future. And now it’s coming to Europe!

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Pan-European politics: Can the internet connect the dots?
  • New possibilities for collaborative government
  • Using the internet to open up politics outside the parties
  • Transparency and participation: What is real e-government?
  • What should European politicians and parties learn from the Obama victory?
  • Using social media to transform the relationship between voters and their representatives
  • State of the art politech: how to use mobile, video and social networking to advance your cause
  • New media vs traditional media: how to navigate the new environment

For more information and to register, click here!

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Quote of the week: Martina
Oct 18th, 2009

“But most important I meet and talk literally daily to colleagues and friends from 27 different European countries. And doing this everyday for so many years just has to open your eyes, unlock your heart and enrich your soul.”

Martina, Writing for y(EU)

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What’s so shocking about Jean Sarkozy’s election as head of EPAD?
Oct 16th, 2009

Here is a quick update for those of you who haven’t heard of the story yet, if that’s even possible: Jean Sarkozy, 23, repeating his sophomore year at law school in Paris, son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is due to take the head of EPAD – the public agency in charge of developing La Défense, Europe’s largest business district-  72 employees, budget: €115m. For many years, Nicolas Sarkozy was mayor of Neuilly sur Seine -a town located in the same administrative district as La Défense- and he still has tremendous political connections and influence on this district.

The left cries nepotism. The right is embarrassed. Sarkozist Patrick Devedjian, EPAD’s current boss, unable to stand again for age limit reason, used a beautiful sentence to comment on the nomination, a sentence that comes from another era, when France was not a republic, when destinies were determined right from the birth: “In souls nobly born valour does not depend upon age” Bitterness or black comedy?

In the meantime, the Internet has turned the story into laughing matter. Better to look on the funny side of things? A massive joke contest is taking place on Twitter using the hashtag #jeansarkozypartout (jeansarkozyeverywhere). A group has been created on Facebook “Let little Jean finish his studies!!!”. Another one calls for “Louis Sarkozy to represent France at the United Nations when he finishes primary school”. A group of youngsters have gone to the Elysée palace to formally hand Nicolas Sarkozy a request for adoption.

The right fired back! Isabelle Balkany, Jean Sarkozy’s godmother, and wife of politician Patrick Balkany – a convicted felon, said Jean is the best among them. Sic. They said Jean is being “victimised”. Poor thing. It is “heinous” to hit out at someone in such a way, they added. They even accused Jean’s detractors of jealousy. Then I noticed a change of strategy. They started to do their best at making Jean look more credible. Jean is very experienced: two years as conseiller géneral, member of a district assembly… a position he earned thanks to his father. Jean is a responsible man: he is a married father of one. Jean works hard. He doesn’t have time for studying. He has better things to do. Destiny is calling. The best joke of it all was when Jean appeared on TV, with a totally different look. He used to look like a golden boy with his long blond hair. Suddenly, he had shorter, darker hair, and wore square glasses. Since when does Jean need glasses? Apart from that, he looked exactly like his father, using the same rhetorical tricks and the same body language. It was quite terrifying actually. At the same time his father introduced a new reform of secondary school. He dared say that when Napoléon created secondary school, it meant the end of privileges coming from birth. He added that from then on, what would matter in France, would not be to be “nobly born” but to have worked hard and to have conveyed one’s value through studying. Totally surreal.

But amid the controversy, I was stroke by an article that appeared in Le Monde and left unnoticed. It tells the story of David, a young business school graduate. It is entitled “I was an intern for 14 months and had a 6-month trial period before I got sacked”. David represents his generation. A precarious generation. A generation that was told: «study, my son, that’s how you’ll make it in life», and that ends up, to their parents’ distress, going from one internship to another, from one short-term contract to another, being exploited ever after. What’s shocking about the Jean Sarkozy scandal is that it points out the fact that our generation has been lied to. We were told that by working hard, we would make it. The harsh reality is that what matters is not to earn diplomas, but to be “nobly born”. We thought we were living in a republic. We are still living in a monarchy. The “Sarkozia” embodies this fraud. That is what is actually shocking to French people.

A touch of humour to end this post. If you understand French, I strongly recommend you watch this fantastic piece of humour and poetry, which perfectly describes what life is like in Sarkozia:

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Quote of the week: Silvio Berlusconi
Oct 11th, 2009

“Over the years I have spent €200 million on consultants and judges … sorry, consultants and lawyers”

Silvio Berlusconi, quote published by TimesOnLine

Found on Twitter thanks to @DaveKeating

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One of the 3 top EU jobs must be held by a woman
Oct 8th, 2009

Although the Lisbon Treaty is still not fully ratified, there has already been a lot of speculation in the media about who would be suitable candidates for the 2 top EU jobs it creates along the -already taken- Commission President post: the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Annoyed by the fact that most of the names that are currently put forward by the media are only men, some top European women have started to react: read herehere, and thereIn an interview to TheParliament.com on Tuesday, Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström said “It is shameful that, so far, no women seem to have been put forward as possible candidates. All we hear about are people like Tony Blair and other men”. I agree with her. But I would go even further. It is actually more than shameful: I feel it is an insult to all women.

So why is Margot Wallström and many other Eurowomen so annoyed by this. Just take a look at the most recent European Council family picture I could find (here below). Let’s play a game: What’s wrong with this picture?

June European Council – CC The Council of the European Union

No it’s not the vibrant purple colour of Angela Merkel’s outfit (second raw, middle)… No it’s not the fact that Tarja Halonen, the female president of Finland (first raw, middle left), is not wearing a colourful outfit as top EU female politicians usually do… Try again. What is wrong is that apart from Angela Merkel, Tarja Halonen, and Mary McAleese -Irish President, not on the picture- there was no other female head of state (I’m not counting the queens) or government in the 27 European Union countries when this picture was taken (since then Dalia Grybauskaité was elected President of Lithuania). There’s roughly 98% of greyish/blackish suits on this family picture: that is what is wrong.

Here is a picture from a fellow French blogger that summarises the situation pretty well:

dames
Parité – CC Fred

There are plenty of talented, charismatic, competent women that could take one of the 2 top EU jobs left. Here is a list of the names that “some” journalists have put forward:

  • Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Christian-democrat
  • Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, Social-democrat
  • Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for institutional relations and communication policy, Former Swedish Minister for Culture, Social Affairs and Youth, Social-democrat
  • Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, Former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Independant
  • Ursula Plassnik, Former Austrian foreign minister, Christian-democrat

That’s a short list. I’m sure there’s a lot more. Any idea? Feel free to contribute!

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Quote of the week: Adrienne Mendell
Oct 7th, 2009

“Men approach their work with the same mindset they use in competitive sports. Competitive sports, war and the workplace are governed by a set of unwritten rules familiar to most men but unknown to most women. Unfamiliarity with these rules is the most significant and elusive factor trapping women below the glass ceiling.”

Adrienne Mendell, Rules of the “WORK” game, initially published on Womens Media, discovered on the excellent Blog Jump

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The best of the web: the Conservatives are victims of cybersquatting
Oct 5th, 2009

If you take a look at the European Parliament’s page on political groups, it seems that four months after the European elections, the Tory-led European Conservatives and Reformists Group still does not have a website, and neither does the even more Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group.

Yet if you search on Google for “European Conservatives and Reformists Group” you will see that THERE IS a temporary website for the group called ecrg.info. The page provides an email address where you can contact the ECR group. In a recent blogpost, the social-democrat blogger Jon Worth reveals that he is the owner of the ecrg.info domain name. He has received all sorts of queries regarding the ECR group through the contact email address, and has replied “informing them that they are victims of cybersquatting and asking the valid question: how can any political organisation that has gone three months without a web presence be taken at all seriously?” Very good question, indeed.

Click to read the full story on Jon Worth’s website.

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PES activists: join our Wiki page for the Prague Congress!
Oct 1st, 2009
© Chourka Glogowski
© Chourka Glogowski

PES activists had inspiring debates at their 2009 forum in Dublin. Desmond O’Toole -the Dublin PES activists coordinator- published a summary of these debates on a Wiki page, where PES activists are invited to contribute so we can present our own proposals to the PES congress held in Prague in December.

Come and join the debate on the future of the European left!

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© Eurosocialiste 2010. Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its clients. The content of this blog has been revised by Fabtrad (fabtrad @ gmail.com)