Bursting the Bubble

Ups and downs in the EU environmental debate: commitment to eco-investment and the EPP tricks

24 April 2013 | by

Among the many recent events significant for the environmental agenda, the vote on the backloading of the Emission Trading Scheme was particularly revealing. It not only made clear the demarcation line in the European Parliament, but it also became a stage for many deceitful arguments that led to the rejection of the reform. Continue reading

How Europe Deals With a Bear

22 April 2013 | by

Why is any nation-state a member of the European Union? And when one is a member of the European Union, what are the sentiments of the people through the eyes of the national politicians? This article is specifically concerned with the opinions of two Danish politicians regarding the European Union. It is a follow-up to my previous article, an interview with Morten Messerschmidt, a Danish Member of the European Parliament. The current article results from personal exchanges with two Danish politicians. Anne Baastrup, a member of the Danish Parliament representing the Socialist People’s Party. Pernille Frahm, now both a former member of the Danish Parliament, as well as a former Danish Member of the European Parliament representing the Socialist People’s Party and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left.

Denmark, a nation of roughly 5.5 million people, is a nation proud of its heritage. With the longest standing royal blood line in the history of the world amongst other historical wonders, it is undeniable that its history is quite unique. And yet, it is also undeniably not the political heavy weight of the United States or China.

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What is the picture of Europe? A talk with Jeroen Moes

19 April 2013 | by


This post is about a chat and, just like any self-respecting chat, it took place around a steaming cup of coffee. It was in Maastricht, and as you had already probably figured out due to its heading, it was about European identity.

In the picture you can see my interlocutor, Jeroen Moes,who was in charge of feeding my inquisitive hunger for answers while slowly sipping his caffeine-full beverage. Jeroen is originally from the Netherlands, but he feels genuinely European. He is  a professional social scientist, a member of the Citizen’s committee in Fraternitée 2020  and an amateur photographer. He is preparing, perhaps as a result of this melange of interests, a thesis with the purpose of unveiling what is the picture of Europe that people have, in three very different countries: Italy, Estonia and the Netherlands.


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7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns

18 April 2013 | by

This week, the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns is being held in Geneva, where numerous representatives of local and national governments, EU institutions, NGOs as well as businesses will be trying to find lasting solutions to the current crisis from an economic, social and environmental point of view.

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Fifty Shades of Brussels or the story of a non best-seller

17 April 2013 | by

Review of “Intimate Brussels, living among Eurocrats”, from Martin Leidenfrost (2010)

I bought the book at the press shop next to the Justus Lipsius building, defying the grey and humid weather which was making the bumpy Bruxellois pavement more slippery than in your worst nightmare. When a friend saw the book, he exclaimed,  “it seems like 50 shades of Brussels”. I laughed. To be honest, I did not really know much about the book I had just bought.

Behind the mysterious and evocative cover…

I have to warn you: the parallel with the world-wide erotic best seller stops here. You will not read sulfurous, glamorous or exciting stories that enter by the back door of the European Capital. However, the author, Martin Leidenfrost will take you for a stroll through Brussels, from the European district to the most unexpected nooks and crannies of the city. Take a deep breath, imagine the Berlaymont building during a foggy moonless night. You see? Nothing. That’s it. Welcome to Brussels behind the scenes.

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