The Guest Blog

Fichtre, who’s who dans le world wide web ? Qui dit quoi, qui se gausse, qui ose ? Histoire de faire plus ample connaissance, voici pour la rentrée une série de causeries jupons frivoles avec les bloggueurs les plus influents ou (im)pertinents de l’eurosphère. En anglais s’il vous plait !


J. Clive Matthews est un Britannique de 30 ans qui vit à Londres où il travaille comme journaliste. Il bloggue depuis 2004, « par ennui d’abord par addiction ensuite ». Critique et sarcastique, EUphobia est devenu EUtopia en juin 2008 et attire entre 4 000 et 9 000 visiteurs uniques par mois. Régulièrement cité par The Guardian, BBC ou The Economist, ce blog très prisé des eurosceptiques dépeint de manière décapante les travers des politiques de l’UE et les rapports très particuliers entre Bruxelles et les sujets de sa Majesté. Impressions…

  • L’Europe en blogs: What do you think about the eurosphere ?

Nosemonkey: I’d say there’s not yet enough EU-focussed blogs to generalise. The one major thing that does stand out is the lack of readership.
Other than that, EU blogs keep covering the same ground – pondering about what the EU’s for, how it should be reformed, etc. etc. etc. – largely because most bloggers don’t stick at it for more than a few months, so Euroblogland is littered with dead blogs full of much the same sort of thing. There’s also very little detailed coverage of events in Brussels, Strasbourg, etc. – because there are very few insiders blogging, relatively few EU news sources, and because it’s mostly very boring.
In any case, without decent automatic online translators, bloggers and blog readers who struggle outside their native language are stuck with a very small part of EU blogworld.
Having said that, there have recently been some moves in the right direction – Euros du Village attempting a multi-language group blog which is showing some promise. Blogactiv attempting to set up a hub for EU experts in an attempt to bring a wide range of analysis together. European Tribune – the longest-running of these – bringing a Daily Kos-style multi-author approach to EU affairs. There are a few ongoing efforts to provide similar hubs – be it via RSS aggregators, Digg-style portals, or whatever.

  • L’Europe en blogs: Why so many problems ?

Nosemonkey: Part of the problem, of course, is that the EU’s insanely complicated and equally insanely boring.
EU political news sells even less well than regular political news. And, as with all news-based publishing, it’s only the bad news that attracts interest. Which is, no doubt, why the anti-EU sites get so much more traffic than those in favour.
This is the fundamental problem – coverage of EU affairs is not profitable. There aren’t enough willing readers out there to justify launching EU-focussed publications as profit-making ventures, so we’re stuck with amateurs – the blogs (even the few professionals – like the BBC’s Mark Mardell, Liberation’s Jean Quatremer, The Economist’s Certain Ideas of Europe team -) are sorely under-funded and under-resourced, doing the blogging as a sideline, while the EU news sites are mostly – like EurActiv – not funded via advertising or subscription, but public grants and sponsorship.
Being amateurs doing this as a hobby, we simply don’t have the time or resources – even collectively – to dig down and find the juicy bits that will be floating around among the tens of thousands of words of policy documents, briefing papers and the like that are produced daily by the innumerable EU institutions, thinktanks and lobby organisations. And so the EU continues to work largely unscrutinised by the public – because us bloggers ARE the public, and if we’re not doing it, who the hell is?

  • L’Europe en blogs: What are your favorites euro-blogs and why ?

Nosemonkey: I don’t really have any favourites, per se. I’ve got a number of daily reads, but there’s no one EU blog that provides me with what I want – if there was, I wouldn’t need to bother doing one myself. Individual blogs – my own included – are too intermittent and random in their coverage to provide the kind of sustained, wide-ranging topical (and not so topical) analysis that I’m after.The thing with blogs is the collective benefit – the more there are, the more that gets covered.

  • L’Europe en blogs: Who is your favorite politic?

Nosemonkey: Jens-Peter Bonde. Yes, he’s a eurosceptic. Yes, he’s hooked up with some less than sensible politicians via the Independence and Democracy Group. But he’s genuinely passionate about EU democracy and EU reform, is genuinely willing to engage, and genuinely tries to offer constructive criticism rather than just sniping from the sidelines like most eurosceptic types.
“Euroblogland is littered with dead blogs full of much the same sort of thing”

  • L’Europe en blogs: 2009 for the EU will be the Year of…

Nosemonkey: More of the same. Just like last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. We’ll still be dealing with the fall-out from the failures of the Treaty of Nice. We’ll still be trying to work out how to deal with the unpredictable nature of an apparently resurgent Russia. The EU’s been stuck in a rut since 2001 (at least) and I see no signs at all that we’re any closer to getting out of it. It even looks like Barroso may get asked back for a second term – what more proof of stagnation do you need?

L’Europe en blogs: If you could change something in the EU, it would be…
Nosemonkey: The twin concepts of unanimity and one size fits all. It’s counter-productive, and alienates the people from the EU. In the world of even more wishful thinking, it’d be rather nice if we all spoke the same language – or at least could agree on ONE official language in which to work. English, for personal preference (naturally). But if not, can’t we bring back Latin?

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