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PES Congress 2009: all my Tweets in one place!
Dec 9th, 2009

The 8th PES congress has just started! Follow it on Twitter with #pescongress or live on www.pes.org. Hello from Prague! 9:42 AM Dec 7th from web

The #pescongress is carbon-neutral. http://www.pes.org/en/news/pes-hold-carbon-neutral-congress-prague 9:47 AM Dec 7th from web

Paroubek, former Czech PM is now opening the #pescongress 9:55 AM Dec 7th from web

Now our beloved PNR – Poul Nyrup Rasmussen – , PES president has entered the stage #pescongress 10:00 AM Dec 7th from web

PES pres: I want to make a pact today with you to find and define a new direction for our progressive societies #pescongress 10:19 AM Dec 7th from web

PES pres: a progressive society has to put gender equality at the centre of its priorities #pescongress 10:20 AM Dec 7th from webPrague_3

PES pres: Regarding the financial crisis, back to business as usual is not an option #pescongress 10:23 AM Dec 7th from web

PES president is explaining how the negotiations went regarding the selection of Catherine Ashton as EU High Rep #pescongress 10:26 AM Dec 7th from web

PES pres: It is a myth to believe that the market economy, especially fin markets, will have a tendency to equilibrium #pescongress 10:28 AM Dec 7th from web

PES pres: Never ever again financial speculation must turn our societies down. Never again. #pescongress 10:28 AM Dec 7th from web

PES pres Poul Rasmussen: some of the key pillars of our project are green growth, education and gender equality #pescongress 10:36 AM Dec 7th from web

PES president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen gets a standing ovation when he says that we must have a common candidate for next Commission president 10:42 AM Dec 7th from web

Zapatero’s motto: “I’m a Feminist because I’m a Socialist”. A progressive society is not possible without gender equality #pescongress 11:23 AM Dec 7th from web

enjoyed the 1st panel at the #pescongress very much, great ideas for the future by Aubry, Bersani, Gilmore, Gabriel and Thorning-Schmidt 12:12 PM Dec 7th from web

Socialist group president Martin Schultz addresses the #pescongress in German, French and English. Well done! 12:17 PM Dec 7th from web

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen is reelected as the president of the Party of European Socialists! very happy about the news :) #pescongress 12:41 PM Dec 7th from web

Poul N. Rasmussen receives a red roses bouquet from PES Women pres Zita Gurmai. Lovely that men also get flowers at the PES @pescongress 12:44 PM Dec 7th from web

I think PES president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen is one of the most inspiring politicians there are. v. happy he remains our leader #pescongress 12:49 PM Dec 7th from web

at 2nd panel on progressive societies @ #pescongress 3 women in their 30ies as speakers out of 5 in total. very dynamic and inspiring 4:04 PM Dec 7th from web

“If you tell a fairy tale to a child and you don’t believe in it yourself, then the child will not either” Petroula Nteledimou #pescongress 4:17 PM Dec 7th from web

2nd day @ #pescongress just starting. had a great time yesterday, looking forward to today’s programme http://tinyurl.com/yfcxfl2 10:11 AM Dec 8th from web

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen: “In some sense, we are all workaholics in the social-democratic movement” #pescongress 10:14 AM Dec 8th from web

Economist Jeffrey Sachs: “Social-democracy has proven to be the most successful economic model in the world” #pescongress http://tr.im/GZHt 10:16 AM Dec 8th from web

Read blogpost summaries of yesterday’s panels at the #pescongress here: http://www.pes.org/en/blogs/pes-blog 10:19 AM Dec 8th from web

and check out the pictures of the event there: http://www.pes.org/en/galleries/pes-congress-2009 #pescongress 10:20 AM Dec 8th from web

Howard Dean addressing the #pescongress : “Free market alone cannot achieve social justice. We need a global new deal” 10:32 AM Dec 8th from web

Nabil Shaat from Fatah gets warm applauses at the #pescongress 10:38 AM Dec 8th from web

P.N. Rasmussen: I would have been so happy if I, at this moment, could give the floor to our Israeli party. #pescongress 10:55 AM Dec 8th from web

video address of Australian PM Kevin Rudd #pescongress www.pes.org 10:55 AM Dec 8th from web

Now starting: panel on the campaign Europeans for Financial Reform. REGULATE GLOBAL FINANCE NOW! #pescongress http://tr.im/H00R 11:33 AM Dec 8th from web

Elio Di Rupo (PS, BE): Everything remains to be done to regulate financial markets. The mountain gave birth to a mouse.#pescongress 11:37 AM Dec 8th from web

Di Rupo: We must fight neo-liberalism with renewed energy. #pescongress 11:41 AM Dec 8th from web

Di Rupo: No to this stressing society, this society of profit maximisation. 1/2 #pescongress11:44 AM Dec 8th from web

Di Rupo: This is stressing people out of their mind. We want a more human society. 2/2 #pescongress 11:44 AM Dec 8th from web

“Fiscal stability cannot be done at the expense of social justice” Ivari Padar, leader of the Estonian Social Democrats #pescongress 11:51 AM Dec 8th from web

French MEP Pervenche Berès, amazing expert on ecofin, now talking! #pescongress 11:52 AM Dec 8th from web

Berès: We are not living up to the challenge. Things seem to start again as usual as if nothing had happened. #pescongress 11:53 AM Dec 8th from web

Berès: Why is it that any type of product has to go through controls to enter our markets, all products but financial products? #pescongress 11:56 AM Dec 8th from web

Andreas Schieder (Austria): The crisis shows the failure of the ideology of privatising gains and collectivising losses #pescongress 11:59 AM Dec 8th from web

The PES has elected its new presidency! Find full list of members here: http://tr.im/H07R #pescongress 12:05 PM Dec 8th from web

Berès: The challenge of this campaign (for financial regulation) is to make it a grass-root campaign 1/2 #pescongress 12:30 PM Dec 8th from web

Berès: These questions only seem complex because some don’t want us to get involved ! 2/2 #pescongress 12:31 PM Dec 8th from web

Find all Congress documents and resolutions here: http://tr.im/H0eE #pescongress 12:35 PM Dec 8th from web

Javier Moreno of the Global Progressive Forum is presenting the Europeans For Financial Reform campaign http://tr.im/H0f2 #pescongress 12:37 PM Dec 8th from web

Sign the call to action “Regulate Global Finance Now!” http://tr.im/H0fp #pescongress 12:38 PM Dec 8th from web

Closing session at the #pescongress is starting now, follow it live here: www.pes.org 2:22 PM Dec 8th from web

Former Bulgarian PM Sergei Stanishev: Where do we want to be as a political family by next PES congress? #pescongress 2:27 PM Dec 8th from web

Philip Cordery has been unanimously reelected as PES secretary general. Bravo Philip! #pescongress 2:32 PM Dec 8th from web

Ruairi Quinn is reelected PES treasurer #pescongress 2:35 PM Dec 8th from web

Adrian Severin (VP socialist group in EP): We need a PES that is a true architecture of the European transnational democracy #pescongress 2:37 PM Dec 8th from web

Severin: I truly believe the future of social-democracy lies on Europe #pescongress 2:40 PM Dec 8th from web

Marije Laffeber (Dutch Int. Sec.) This has been two very inspiring days. #pescongress 2:41 PM Dec 8th from web

Commissioner Vladimir Spidla: We shouldn’t move towards the centre but we should become the centre. #pescongress 2:45 PM Dec 8th from web

Anna Paola Concia (Rainbow Rose), only open Lesbian in Italian Parliament addresses the #pescongress 2:49 PM Dec 8th from web

A.P. Concia: Social and civil rights should always come together. Voters recognise those who fight for their values #pescongress 2:50 PM Dec 8th from web

Janna Besamusca (SG ECOSY): Youth unemployment at the moment in Europe is twice as high as the average #pescongress 2:51 PM Dec 8th from web

Zita Gurmai (Pres. PES Women): More important than ever is to listen to our members, our activists & the younger generation. #pescongress 2:57 PM Dec 8th from web

Jiri Paroubek: “Czech became the international language of the last two days” Thanks Jiri for hosting this fabulous #pescongress :) 3:01 PM Dec 8th from web

Paroubek: We have a lot of expectations for the Spanish presidency of the European Union (1st semester 2010) #pescongress 3:06 PM Dec 8th from web

Now Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (PNR) gives the closing speech of the #pescongress 3:08 PM Dec 8th from web

PNR thanks all the PES secretariat team, one by one :) #pescongress 3:11 PM Dec 8th from web

PNR: There are 25.000 PES activists now. I have a dream that at next #pescongress we become 50.000 3:14 PM Dec 8th from web

PNR: Next century is going to be ours.The 21st century will be the progressive century. #pescongress 3:14 PM Dec 8th from web

PNR: Over the next years we will change Europe and its priorites #pescongress 3:20 PM Dec 8th from web

We will not allow that the market guides us because it has no face. Social democracy is about giving the market a human face. #pescongress 3:21 PM Dec 8th from web

We don’t want to avoid the market but we want to ensure that the market becomes the servant of the people, not its master. #pescongress 3:21 PM Dec 8th from web

We will be the party of engagement, freedom, hope and humanity #pescongress 3:23 PM Dec 8th from web

very moved by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen’s last words. A thought to my Spanish republican gd-parents. Thx Poul for being so inspiring #pescongress 3:26 PM Dec 8th from web

#pescongress finished now :( thanks for following the tweets. looking forward to next year’s congress! 3:37 PM Dec 8th from web

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Woman @ EU top: let’s enter the 21st century now!
Nov 1st, 2009

Since I wrote the blogpost “One of the 3 top EU jobs must be held by a woman” early October, I’ve been delighted to see that the idea of a woman at one of the top EU jobs has gained momentum, both in social media and mainstream media, both among women and men.

Get you own Twibbon!

Get a Twibbon!

Just a week ago, after a few EU geek girls met in Brussels, linotherhino launched a clever campaign on Twitter to raise support for the nomination of a woman at one of the top EU jobs. The concept is simple and efficient, you add a pink “twibbon” -a Twitter ribbon- with the motto “Woman @ EU top” to your profile picture on Twitter (you can do it here). The initiative was a dazzling success: my twitter page turned all pink in just one day. And I was very pleased to see that many men adopted the pink twibbon as well, and so did a few MEPs. Join the Woman @ EU top campaign now!

The European Women’s Lobby said earlier this year that “it is hardly acceptable in the 21st century that all kinds of criteria are used for high-level nominations, including nationality, political affiliation, even country size, but never including gender!” This is exactly what is happening at the moment for the EU top jobs selection process. Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström -who has been at the lead of the campaign for a woman at one of the EU top jobs- recently said that the President of the European Council should be a woman. Commenting on the fact that most names mentioned for the job so far have been men, she said that “From a democratic point of view it reduces that 52.6 percent of women to a minority…and I don’t think this is acceptable in the European Union of 2009.” It is a good thing that some top EU women react to this injustice. However, as blogger Julien Frisch wisely told me on Twitter: “Women don’t need more women to support them, they need more men”, which is why I was happy to see Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament President -holder of the fourth top EU job- say regarding the European Council President post: “I would prefer if we could find a chairwoman because we need gender equality”. European Voice reports: ”He said that after appointing someone from a central and east European country as head of one of the EU institutions, “we should make another step to have a woman as president of the Council”.”

Compared to the list of potential women candidates I compiled in my last blogpost, where do we stand? Angela Merkel was reelected German chancellor, so she’s obviously out. Mary Robinson managed to raise incredible support from online campaigners but she ruled herself out. The name of Tarja Halonen -President of Finland, Social-democrat- has gained more echo for the European Council President job, and so has Ursula Plassnik’s -former Austrian foreign minister, Christian-democrat- for the job of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Meanwhile, new female names have been mentioned. For the President job: Vaira Vike-Freiberga -former President of Latvia, independent- for whom a new Facebook group has just been created. It is difficult to put other names forward as this post is designed for a former head of state or government, and extremely few women have reached this level of responsibility in Europe. For the High Representative job, there are more female names on the line as the experience needed for the job is that of minister of foreign affairs or European affairs, which more women have held. Two new female names have popped up: Elisabeth Guigou -former French minister for European affairs, centre-left- and Dora Bakoyannis -former Greek minister of foreign affairs, centre-right.

As a socialist, my first instinct would obviously be to support Tarja Halonen and Elisabeth Guigou. But here is where it gets a little more complicated. Two-thirds of the heads of government sitting at the European Council are right-wing. So why the heck would the socialists want one of theirs as head of the European Council? In my opinion, that would be a political suicide for our family. This is why the European socialists are pushing to get the High Representative job. French socialist Elisabeth Guigou is a fantastic candidate for this job. However, she’d have to be nominated by the French, and considering the French government is currently right-wing, there is very little chance they would accept their only Commission member to be a socialist. So I believe that given the current state of the race, if a woman is to get one of the two top EU jobs left, it would be that of President of the European Council, and it would be Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Bets are on! Feel free, as usual, to comment and suggest other female names for these jobs.

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The best of the web: Social connectivity of job applicants
Sep 3rd, 2009

A job vacancy published by a US company specifically requires applicants to have at least 250 followers on Twitter. “Will this set a precedent?”, wonders the blog The Lobby. Find out about the whole story here.

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The political culture of Generation Y aka Generation 2.0: Openness, Ethics and Humility
Jul 10th, 2009

A week ago I published a post about Generation 2.0 that dealt with the cultural consequences of the digital revolution. Yesterday, I discovered on Twitter the term of Generation Y thanks to @boriswandoren. The statement “Generation Y” is used to qualify the generation roughly born since the end of the seventies, which is the first one to have massively integrated the use of digital technologies in their daily lives. Boris Wandoren, Jon Worth and I engaged in a Twitter debate about the necessity of Generation Y values to be represented more in politics, which led Jon Worth to write a blogpost disproving the generational argument, stating that the main issue in today’s politics is more the structural difficulty of political parties to integrate “risk takers, leaders, people with drive, people with ideology, and bind them into a party structure”. Julien Frisch picked up this post, partly agreeing with Jon while arguing at the same time that there is some truth in the generational issue.

I still believe it is a matter of generation. But don’t get me wrong, I do not mean it is simply a question of replacing elder politicians by younger ones. That would be too easy. To paraphrase Jon, “it’s more important than that”. The generation question is not only an age question; it is much more relevant as a cultural question. Many young people still think like older generations while some elder people embrace the cultural changes younger generations bring in. Take the example of the 1960s cultural protest movement. Back then, not all young people were culturally liberal hippies! Some were conservative. They were the same age though. Yet looking back in history, at that moment it’s the values of the young progressive hippies -joined by their open-minded elders- that won the cultural battle.

The relevance of the generation question is more culture than age-related. So what is the specific culture of Generation Y and how does it matter? According to the Wikipedia articles I could read on the topic in English and French, what characterises Generation Y -at least in Western countries- is the following:

  • They didn’t grow up with the apocalyptical threat of the cold war.
  • They have integrated the moral transformations of the 1960s/1970s.
  • They haven’t known the world without AIDS.
  • They were young enough when computers and portable electronic devices started to widely disseminate so that they could gain an intuitive command of these technologies, much better than that of their parents.
  • They were born at a time when ecology started to raise interest in the wide public.

This list is certainly not comprehensive, and more importantly not entirely relevant to all geographies, but it is still good food for thought. Although these Wikipedia articles give a good description of Generation Y’s culture, they do not relate it to political behaviours. And that’s where we get back to the point I wanted to make.

The emergence of this new culture will have a long-term impact on politics. My guess is that Obama’s election is the first visible sign of what the political legacy of Generation Y will be. I believe that the future of politics lies in Openness, Ethics and Humility:

  • Openness because, thanks to digital technologies, the public debate has become much more open to citizen’s direct interaction, which also leads to the necessity for institutions to be more transparent. Openness also because tolerance is one of the defining values of Generation Y that believes in sexual liberties and the promotion of minority rights.
  • Ethics because in the past decades there has been a growing disenchantment about politics as a consequence of recurring corruption scandals and a perceived discrepancy between what politicians say they stand for and what their behaviours are.
  • Humility because in today’s world one can become an idol in just a minute, only to fall back as quickly into anonymity, because the world has become so complex that no ideology can pretend to have all the keys to world peace, because we live in an interdependent world where the fate of the richest is linked to that of the poorest.

There is a growing demand for a new way of doing politics. However, there is still not quite a satisfactory offer. Stay tuned: more posts coming up on Generation Y, the open society and what it means for politics.

Update on 11 July:

Boris Wandoren’s take on the topic: http://www.clermont-citygroup.eu/2009/07/11/is-it-more-important-than-the-generational-issue/comment-page-1/#comment-454

and the amazing article by Kevin Kelly on digital socialism: http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/17-06/nep_newsocialism?currentPage=all

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How addicted to Twitter am I after just two weeks of usage?
Jul 8th, 2009

How addicted to Twitter are you?

Created by The Oatmeal

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Generation 2.0: not just a technological revolution, it’s a cultural revolution
Jul 1st, 2009

I joined the Twitter community just a week ago. Although at first I was skeptical about this tool, the eye-opener blogposts on the political use of Twitter written by Jon Worth and Julien Frisch talked me into paying a little more attention to it. A couple of days later Bente Kalsnes’s post on political geeks in Europe convinced me Twitter was something to consider seriously. Now I am hooked. The other day I was juggling as usual between the windows of Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and my RSS reader, to name but a few, when suddenly it hit me: ten years ago, none of that was part of my life, and of anybody’s either as a matter of fact.

When I was a teenager in the nineties, just a little more than ten years ago, we had no mobile phones, and hardly any personal computers. In France, we were still using the Minitel. Mobile phones only started to widespread when I went to university. Our teachers still hardly dared to ask to hand in typed papers instead of hand-written ones. Just a few of us actually owned a computer. Ten years later, we are all emailing, browsing the web, sending text messages on our mobile phones, having hundreds of friends on Facebook, posting our ideas on blogs, and participating in lively twittering micro-discussions with people we’ve never met. All that happened within 10 years, and it has profoundly changed our relationship to the world, and especially our relationship with the political sphere.

We are witnessing the beginning of a whole new era. The digital revolution will probably be seen in the history of the public space as the most significant milestone since the invention of movable type printing by Gutenberg in the 15th century. Anyone can have access to any kind of information through a simple internet connection. Information has become a common good. It is not anymore a source of power only reserved for the educated. This is deeply changing the political equilibrium. Anyone can now influence the public debate rather easily, provided they are a little witty, and understand how to make a strategic use of web tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Information is not top-down anymore. Information comes from anywhere and from anyone. The public sphere is becoming more and more horizontal. This is having a huge impact on our democracies. For decades, political debates have been led by political parties, journalists, and intellectuals. Now anyone can voice their opinion on the web and get a lot of attention. There is no monopoly of the information anymore. We are just at the beginning of a new era. The tech people call it the digital society. The Commission officials call it the information society. I would call it the open society.

This evolution of society is causing a serious challenge to mainstream political parties. These organisations have heavy structures. The bigger they got, the most top-down they went in the way they operated internally. That doesn’t work anymore because thanks to the Internet revolution, the information is not the monopoly of the few. But mainstream political parties are so frozen in time in the way they operate that they have been having trouble integrating the Internet revolution. Of course, they all try and use the latest technologies, have fancy websites with all the coolest functionalities. However they haven’t managed to integrate the input these new functionalities bring in. They just don’t get it. It’s not a matter of integrating the new technologies. It’s a matter of understanding how much these technologies have created a whole new culture, a wide-open culture, based on the widespread availability of information and the possibility of all to feed the society with more.

This blogpost is just the beginning of a long series. I feel the topic of the open society is essential to understanding the changing political landscape we are witnessing. The success of the Greens in France, the election of the Pirate Party in Sweden, and all the talks on the free sharing of data on the Internet are just other indicators of that move towards a new type of society, which is leading to the necessity of thinking new ways of doing politics.

Photo 1: “Le” Minitel (groundbreaking French technology). Credits: Wikipedia Commons

Photo 2: Jump on the social media wagon. Credits: Matt Hamm on Flickr

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The EPP is openly blackmailing the PES but apparently journalists don’t care
Jun 26th, 2009

Wednesday at a press conference, the newly re-elected EPP group leader Joseph Daul said that his group was opened to any type of alliance for the European Parliament shared presidency deal. However Daul added that the EPP group would – of course- only make a deal with “people” who back the re-election of Barroso as Commission President at the EP first plenary session on July 15th. I am not sure if I understand why the EP presidency and the Commission presidency have to be connected. Journalists in the room didn’t ask this question though. This is a smart move from the EPP. Either the Socialists accept these conditions -thus risking to loose political clarity and to spur divisions among the PES, or they refuse -thus loosing the power the EP presidency seat gives. Smart move, indeed. Although this declaration sounds like a political bomb, none of the mainstream EU media picked up on it. From what I could see, only Europolitics made a story on it, but the article is not available for free. I haven’t seen anyone mentioning it on Twitter either. Strange thing. Joseph Daul said negotiations with political groups on the technical agreement would start next week. Let’s see what happens.

Update on June 27th:

EU bloggers have started picking up the story. See Jon Worth’s “Schizophrenic socialists and poker playing conservatives” and the European Citizen’s “PASD Strategy: Opposition or Office?”

Their views converge: the socialists would be better off refusing the EPP presidency deal, and positioning themselves clearly as the opposition party.

Update on June 29th

The press has started to pick up on the story. See Jean Quatremer’s blog (in French) and New Europe’s website, which even mentions the http://www.stop-barroso.eu/ and http://www.anyonebutbarroso.eu/ websites.

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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)