Cafe Babel

This week’s edition of Café Babel gives an overview of the impact of blogs on EU politics – read the edition here. Interesting for me to read this issue now – I’ve only just completed this article for The New Federalist about the same subject. However, like much of what is written on Café Babel, I am left quite confused.

There are 6 articles in total about blogging and EU politics, yet a coherency between them is lacking. Further, probably the most important EU politics collaborative blogging effort – Fistful of Euros – is strangely absent from any of the analysis. Little-known sites such as and Nicola Dell’Arciprete are featured instead. JEF-France’s Taurillon gets a mention, but not a link to the page.

Café Babel’s efforts to deal with EU blogging are similar to their everyday work – their website is presented in a professional way, but it is hard to know what quality or coherency of information you will get when you read the site. I also fear the issue of translation is at play here – the insistence that all articles appear in all languages does prevent the best prose appearing. Still, I’m happy they have broached the subject of blogging and it will be a long time before a consensus emerges as to its impact.


  1. In reply to Adriano…

    I agree that the multi-lingualism is very valuable, and the opinions of writers from plenty of different countries.

    When I speak of coherence, I don’t mean that those different opinions need to be subsumed or made uniform – far from it. I simply wonder when an issue is broached by Cafe Babel how much effort is made to draw a common thread between the articles on a particular topic.

    Take the blogging edition for example. Despite having 6 long-ish articles about EU blogging, there is no effort to give a Europe-wide overview of where this issue is important in different EU member states. Blogs are massively more important in Nordic states than in Italy. Eurosceptics are far more active bloggers than pro-Europeans. The language that is used (mostly English) by the main EU blogs was not discussed.

    In short, it strikes me when dealing with any theme in EU politics, there are certain ‘must-knows’, and then many tens of different ‘nice-to-know’ issues that stem from that. I fear that Cafe Babel does not pay enough attention to these vital factual points that readers really should understand if they are to make the most of the rest of the content.

  2. As the Editor of, I’ve to say that yes multilinguism is a big necessity and actually it constitutes our originality, but of course it constitutes a big effort I think we run in a quite successful way… if you think our readership was multiplied per 10 in last year (today 300,000 unique visitors per month)!

    About incoherence in the dossier we published, well I would be interested in knowing more about it. The main service we offer is to publish articles written by journalists of different countries… in 7 languages! So of course you have a diversity in opinions: but I think this is a good point!

  3. “JEF-France’s Taurillon gets a mention, but not a link to the page.”

    Well, actually, we do get a link. But not on the English version of the article, only on the French and the Italian one, which I checked.

    By the way, congratulations! The French version of your article about Dick Marty’s report is ranking first as one of our most popular articles so far (217 readers on the first day of publication, and only 12 for the original, English version 🙁 ):

    Please do not hesitate to tell me if there is anything to change in the French version.

    There’s a guy who disagreed with you on the “relatively minor” nature of the human right abuses on the forum. Perhaps you’d like to answer to him.


  4. Thanks for the point about the link at Café Babel… I probably should try to read the original language versions rather than just the English!

    Further, please don’t take my comment above as being against multi-lingualism – it’s excellent they publish in many languages. But I wonder whether some differentiation between what is published in the different languages might be a better approach.

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