Bursting the Bubble

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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EU Enforcement Action Against Google

15 April 2013 | by

Google is facing enforcement action and possibly fines in six EU member states for violating EU privacy law. The six countries are: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. Continue reading

Italian politics? No hurry, it can’t get worse than this.

12 April 2013 | by

The mess after the ballots

The days after the elections, the 24th and 25th of February respectively, every candidate claimed to be satisfied of their victory. In Italian politics such an attitude is quite common. People sitting in the Parliament for decades can hardly admit a loss. However, in those day’s comments there was a frightening truth – nobody had won and no government was foreseeable. Let’s be clear, Italy does have a government in charge and it is led by Mario Monti. This government however is less popular at home than in the EU, and his hands are tied. After more than a month the scenario is even more unclear and uncertain. Let’s take a step back, to see things clearly. Italy has a perfect bicameral system, with the two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate performing identical functions. In February Italians voted with a complex electoral system full-of-issues, the so-called “porcellum” (dirty trick could be an appropriate translation). Continue reading

Thatcher: A Legacy to Remember

10 April 2013 | by

In the current climate of political indifference, Margaret Thatcher (MT) was a Prime Minister (PM) of unique character. She was a woman with a vision for Britain and Europe. She was unapologetic about her convictions and beliefs. When analysing the political life of the first female PM of Britain one has to, however, be careful of not transforming the public discourse into an emotional gibberish about one’s character. Thatcher was a public figure with real power to affect the lives of millions. As such, it is our responsibility to reflect on her life in terms of her policies rather than her character. Continue reading

Russia VS. EU Common Energy Policy

9 April 2013 | by

From the very beginning of the European Union (European Communities) the main incentive for states involved in the integration progress was the conviction that cooperation would bring them more benefits than the actions taken on their own. Even in such controversial and extremely important matters like foreign policy, security and a monetary union, a “single voice” has been more or less achieved. In this respect, it is quite surprising that an issue where joint actions and strategies are more than desirable was not paid due attention to. It is the external energy (oil and gas) policy and security where the EU member states are struggling to have a unified position. Obviously, the question arises: can we speak of a truly consolidated European Union if a Common Energy Policy (CEP) cannot be achieved?

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