One of the efforts I will undertake in this regard is to translate, from time to time, articles from other blogs into English.
This will mostly relate to blog posts in French, Spanish, or Romanian - the languages I can read well enough besides English (and German for which there is already the category "The EU in German blogs".)
If you are the one I am translating, don't hesitate to tell me if you don't like this or when you find any mistakes in my translation.
Let's start today with a post from the Spanish blog europe@as titled "La ciudadanía europea en un click" which covers one of my favourite topics, that is the creation of a European Public Sphere:
The European cititizenship in one click
On europe@as we like to ask questions, but we are not used that we are questioned. Hence, I was perplex when Robert Rode, from the Europe Direct & Luis Vives Foundation sent me a mail asking me to answer a questionnaire. This was the result:
The abstention at the ballot boxes at the last European elections has marked the disinterest of the citizens for the process of constructing Europe. The "democratic deficit" for which the European institutions are frequently blamed comes together with a "communication deficit". The key to escape from this one-way street would be a communication aiming at the creation of a European Public Sphere. In between the initiatives to get Europe closer to the citizens via communication, europe@as sticks out and has been awarded by the European Commission representation in Spain as the blog with the best European news article (for "The United States of Europe").
Question: Your blog has been recently awarded by the Representation of the European Commission in Spain. What importance do such awards have for a blog like yours?
Answer: In my opinion, there is a double importance. On the one side, this has objectively given more visibility to a European blog which was operating at the margins of visibility and that has seen the number of visits multiplied. If this competition will continue, we will see very interesting things. On the other side, from a more personal, subjective point of view, I thought that the articles published were not followed by anyone who wasn't among the regular visitors coming to this blog. However, I realised that people working in and around the Commission were following the comments with interest, including those critical to the functioning of different aspects of the EU.
Question: Today, the European Union consists of 27 member states, it has 23 official and many regional languages. Is it possible to create a common public space?
Answer: I am sure that it is not only possible but that it is necessary. There were some previous attempts in the written press and in audiovisual media. But it is in the internet where this utopia - a European Public Sphere - is going to be a reality. Here are some examples: Presseurop, Café Babel, etc.
Question: Do you think that without the internet one can reach 500 million Europeans?
Answer: If in Europe at this time there was an effort in the audiovisual field to reach out to all Europeans, we now would have the field covered by the internet. But I don't think that the internet alone can reach out to the 500 million Europeans. Among other reasons, it is necessary not to lose sight of the fact that there is also illiteracy for new technologies in certain parts of the population. Under the present circumstances, there is a need to combine audiovisual media and the internet to reach the majority of the population.
Question: In which way the European institutions will have to engage more and better in order to overcome this so-called "communication deficit"?
Answer: This is the One-Million-Question, and to a large extend this is the question which at that time (2003) I tried to answer with my doctoral thesis titled "The press and education in the process of European integration".