This library note makes a short presentation of the EU blogosphere, formed by the growing number of blogs on EU-related topics. It also provides a list of blog aggregators which offer a selection of blogs on EU-related topics.
Blogs – the term is short for weblogs – are an outlet for personal comments and reflections on various topics. The realm of blogs, also dubbed the ‘blogosphere’, forms an alternative source of information and opinions which coexist with traditional media, and which thrives on reader interaction.
Within this ecosystem of opinion, the EU blogosphere focuses on the EU institutions and policies, and provides information, provokes discussion, and generally participates in the public debate surrounding the EU. There are already over a thousand blogs devoted to EU affairs.
The EU blogosphere “adds an extra layer to the field of the public opinion, to which political protagonists have to respond to or at the very least recognise”, argues Georgios Papanagnou in Digital Publics in Transnational Spaces: EU Blogs and the European Public Sphere. Yet only a small number them have frequent updates, and original comments and opinions, he says.
Rather than trying to list and define a moving target of over 1,000 blogs, this note will link to a number of the most interesting EU blog portals:
- Bloggingportal – this site is the biggest aggregator, and has the option of using topical filters to search for blogs of interest. It also has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. It offers RSS, and a newsletter subscription. The team of editors is composed of people with different backgrounds such as journalism, academia, and the private sector.
- EUROPP – the blog is run by members of the London School of Economics (LSE) Department of Government. The authors cover European governance, economics, politics, culture and society, both at the European Union and national levels. They post at least two articles every weekday, a Brussels Blog round up every Friday, and academic book reviews on Sundays.
- Social European journalism – The site is an initiative of the Institut des Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales (IHECS) and its partners, journalists and European civil society representatives with the idea of promoting social and civic European journalism. It is supported by the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind.
- Blogactiv – EurActiv’s blog platform hosts a long list of blogs on EU issues. It was created in 2007 as part of a project for DG Enlargement. The numerous blogs are organized by topic. The platform allows people to set up their own blog on EU-related issues. Blogactiv has a Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as RSS feed.
- Ideas on Europe– The multi-blog platform hosts blogs by organisations and individuals actively engaged in European issues. The platform was created by the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES). It offers links to almost 50 blogs and also offers the option to host a blog of your own, as long as it is EU-related.
- EU blog directory – James Clive-Matthews is himself a well-known blogger, who also provides links to his own selection of ‘must-read’ EU blogs. Additionally, he maintains a EU blog and news RSS resource here.
- Le Taurillon – This online magazine is available in four languages, each of which get their own name; Le Taurillon in French, EuroBull in Italian, The New Federalist in English, and treffpunkteuropa.de in German. It unapologetically pro-European, and is run by the Young European Federalists, an organisation of young Europeans who “share a vision of a united, federal and democratic Europe.”
- Euros du Village – This website links to blogposts in five languages, on its Eurosblogs page. It is an outlet for students and young professionals specialising in European matters, on which they contribute on a voluntary basis by writing and posting articles.
In 2010, a study by communication agency Waggener Edstrom tried to shed some light on the subject of blogs, and it produced a list of the most influential blogs on EU affairs, albeit with some filters in place, including the condition of using English. It found that the following ten blogs were the most influential in Brussels:
1. BBC | Gavin Hewitt’s Europe
2. FT Brussels Blog
3. The Digger
4. Fistful of Euros
5. Jon Worth / Euroblog
6. Stanley’s Blog (now defunct, after Stanley passed away)
7. Open Europe Blog
8. Julien Frisch | Watching Europe (now defunct)
The picture that this study sketched for the blogging landscape of 2010, is an interesting mix of big media, independents, and even an EU official, with Commissioner Kroes just making the top ten. This is suggestive of a genuine public debate, where the barrier of entry is low enough for anyone to participate; a true free marketplace of ideas.
Finally, these are some links that do not really fit in the previous categories, but which might be interesting nonetheless:
Google custom search – this link redirects to the European Blogosphere Search Engine, which was created on Google. It’s an easy way to find EU-related blog publications on the topic of your interest.
EU in social media – the web portal offers a quick access to the various social media in which the EU is presented. Different tabs navigate the readers to the channels used by EU bodies like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The portal also has a section with news flow from a number of news agencies, with a focus on the EU.