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Quote of the Week: Tom Foremski
Mar 18th, 2010

Internet 1.0 was about being able to publish to anything with a computer screen. Now, anything with a screen can publish back. That’s what social media represents…the ‘me’ in media.

Tom Foremski, SiliconValleyWatcher

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Quote of the Week: Margot Wallström
Dec 15th, 2009

“Advice for anyone thinking about blogging on EU affairs – develop a thick skin, especially if you are writing positive things about the EU”

Margot Wallström, Blogging, last blogpost as EU commissioner for communication.

Nice testimony by Margot Wallström of what it’s been like to blog in her position over the past 5 years.

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It took us one week to get a gender-balanced Commission
Nov 26th, 2009

When we launched the on-line campaign for a gender balanced Commission, there were only 4 female nominees to the European Commission. In just a week time, we got 5 more. Did we have an impact? I hope so. One thing is for sure, there was great enthusiasm with this campaign. None of us got paid to work on it. We all did it during our free time, simply trying to make the most out of our skills and networks. And it worked.

GBC1Within only one week, we got about 800 people to sign our petition for a European Commission with at least one third of women, and 2.000 fans on our Facebook page. We managed to get press articles in European VoiceEl Mundothe Guardian and New Europe. Many bloggers and twitterers, along with the European Women’s Lobby and New Europe, agreed to be public supporters of our campaign. Although PES Women President Zita Gurmai mentioned our campaign on her blog, no politician formally agreed to publicly appear as a supporter of our campaign. I wonder why. Is it that they didn’t feel comfortable with supporting a campaign promoting candidates from various political parties? Or is it that they were simply waiting for our campaign to be big enough so that they couldn’t possibly ignore it anymore?

Anyway, I was very happy to be involved in this campaign, which conveyed the tremendous power of social media, and I look forward to next one! Any idea what it should be on?

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I attended PdF09 and I will attend PdF10
Nov 26th, 2009

This weekend, I had a fantastic time at the Personal Democracy Forum in Barcelona, the conference where technology passionates and politics addicts meet. I have to admit I didn’t learn much during the workshops but on the other hand, that might be because I already know much, which is a good sign. Some presentations inspired me though. But that’s not what matters the most anyway.

At PdF EU -just as any conference- the most important is the people you meet. And I met lots of fascinating people, some of which I will collaborate with on common projects: the staff of the Norwegian Labour party, the PES activist friends from Clermont-Ferrand, the organiser of the Brussels girl geek dinners, the people behind Europatweets, the staff from La Netscouade and other Internet agencies, and many more inspiring people.

So, well done PdF! I am glad I was part of it. Now I’m back to Brussels with my mind full of new project ideas, which is probably the best deliverable you could expect from that conference. I am looking forward to helping develop the PdF network in Europe and attending PdF10, which -I think- should take place in Barcelona again (However considering my Spanish origins, I’m probably being biased on that one).

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And now, introducing… the all women’s European Commission!
Nov 16th, 2009

Let’s have a dream. Let’s dream of a fully female European Commission… Impossible, you may think? Try and think again. It’s actually so easy to do that just four random citizens came up with a list of at least one woman per country, in just 36 hours. Governments can’t be bothered to find female candidates, civil society decided to do it for them.

commissioner-squaresEU states are currently in the process of nominating their candidates for the European Commission. Each state can only nominate one person. So what happens? Not very surprisingly, most candidates nominated so far are men. This is very worrying as it seems that the 2009-2014 Commission will have even less women than in 2004-2009, a period of time when there were only 8 women out of 27 commissioners. This is not acceptable.

Over the past months, I’ve been promoting the idea of gender equality at top EU positions on my blog, Facebook and Twitter. Doing so, I was regularly confronted with comments asking the question whether or not any woman would be competent enough to take this level of responsibility. There are plenty of good, knowledgeable, competent women that can take over these jobs. We just never talk about them. Somehow men’s names always come up.

Now, there is no excuse anymore. We have found over 26 female names that hold all the qualities to become Commissioner. Let’s make it happen. Let’s have a genuinely gender-balanced European Commission this time. Would you like to make this come true? Then, follow these steps:

  1. Sign the petition for a gender-balanced Commission
  2. Politician, blogger or twitterer? Appear as a supporter on the campaign web site by sending us an email
  3. Become of a fan of our page on Facebook
  4. Follow us on Twitter
  5. Are you much more motivated than this? Then find out about all the other ways you can help us
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The best of the web: vote for the European Council President!
Nov 11th, 2009

The Robert Schuman Foundation allows you to vote for the first ever permanent President of the European Council. Don’t miss the opportunity! It is the only one you will get. Click here to access the polling page.

Something tells me you might be surprised by the result…

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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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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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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)