Before the start of the Sound of Europe conference this weekend, I thought writing as many observations here would not be a bad idea. With free wireless in the conference centre, uploading things was quick and simple. Yet a quick search of Technorati (direct link to results here) or Google Blogsearch (direct link to results here) demonstrates that I seem to have the dubious honour of being the only person at the conference who was attempting to write anything different to the mainstream media, and keep readers partially up to date! OK, I imagine that Margot Wallstr√∂m will write something on her blog sometime this week about the conference, but this shows in a very personal way how distant from reality all of the politicians at the conference are from reality. Compare this to Davos where the blogging scene can even manage to change things – see this from the BBC.
So while Erhard Busek retreats to listen to some Mozart CDs, Wolfgang Sch√?ssel continues to digest Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, “God is Love”, and Javier Solana digs out a few more obscure Einstein quotes, I can feel content that I have at least done my bit, my very little bit, to communicate Europe to a few people.
it was really very interesting reading your blog for this “sound…” conference, well done as always jon! 🙂
I couldn’t get any of the speeches from the conference website – perhaps it’s too early?
anyway, from what i read here, the most interesting part seemed to be Brok on lisbon and Moravcsik on showing people “the practical progress of europe”. I’m not quite sure what he means though…Lately I have also the feeling that we need to explain to the people “why we need more european integration”, WHY we need europe to move forward, if we decide to actually involve citizens and not only having high profile conferences… from times it seems that even though some years ago we were at a rather good point, moving away from this no-use “nation-state” idea, we’ve now gone back to been scared (maybe due to this terrorism-umbrella…?) and hiding behind -apparently absolutely insufficient but sadly easier to explain to the people – national sovereignty…perhaps it’s this pessimism that’s gaining in on my lately though…
other than that, i’m sure you weren’t expecting much more from the conference jon…
greetings from greece
You can find some of the speeches on the German pages of the Presidency site – here. You need to click the title of the speech in German, and then click the ‘English Version’ link in the top left of the screen. Bit confusing! But then the conference was not designed to communicate with citizens…
As for the speeches: yes, Brok and Moravcsik were among the best (although Brok spoke for no more than 90 seconds). Mark Leonard was clear but somewhat inconsistent. Barroso was excellent, and Oliviero Toscani refreshing for his brutal honesty. The key element of Moravcsik’s approach is that the EU is doing really good concrete work, the Single Market is good, enlargement is good, and Europe’s leaders are unable to communicate that to the people. He effectively advanced a kind of output legitimacy model for the European Union. Now, I don’t think that is sufficient, but I appreciate Moravcsik’s speech as he aimed to answer the questions he was posed, and spoke clearly and sensibly.