Bloggingportal.eu is celebrating its third anniversary tomorrow, 26 January 2012. The website brings together 904 blogs in the different languages of the EU, written by individuals, journalists, Members of the European Parliament, European Commissioners and many more. They are looking at the European Union from different angles, giving themselves a sectional, party-political, cultural or regional focus when they translate the mass of communication that comes out of the European institutions every day.
But why would you bother to write about this stuff if you don't even get paid for it? Here are some of the blogger profiles I have come across.
I am a journalist working for a national newspaper or an audiovisual media. I am caught between the political discussion in my member state and the discussions in the hallways of the European institutions in Brussels. My media asks me to translate what I hear in Brussels so that my home audience will understand it. But many of the ideas and solutions that I hear about in Brussels are not relevant for my home audience. I put them on my blog.
I am a professional working in the European institutions or a lobby group. In my daily life, I have a lot of meetings behind closed doors in which European politics is decided day by day. This strikes me as utterly undemocratic and I feel like I should do something about it. So I gave myself a pseudonym and am writing down some of my daily experiences and thoughts on my blog - in the hope that it will make these European institutions a little bit more transparent.
I study the European Union. My day involves reading scientific articles about the number of votes that are necessary in the Council of Ministers to get a piece of legislation adopted. My desire is to switch the side of the desk and become a part of this European world myself in the future. I feel fervently pro-European and take a lot of pain in the way that reality differs from my ideal model of a harmonic European Union. On my blog, I can say what I think about all this. Maybe someone will read it one day. Maybe they will offer me a job.
I don't care about the European Union. All this institutional bla bla bla bores the crap out of me. I have my own agenda, what I care about is my personal freedom, freedom to travel, freedom to say what I think on the web, freedom to obtain the information that I want to get. But this freedom is in danger from a few grey hats in Brussels and some more grey hats in America, and that's why I am raising my voice. My voice is a mixture of well-placed needle pinches and indignant rioting. If one of those grey hats that I am talking to actually reads me blog, that's even the better. But quite frankly, I don't care.
My media team is handling my blog for me. They also handle my Twitter. Our media analysts told us that European citizens all start going online. We have tried press conference for a long time and even set up our own TV station, but we only get coverage when the EU is in trouble (granted, that happens a lot lately). My blog allows me to reach the citizens directly. I am providing my own voice, and I know that citizens appreciate this. I know that I could do more to interact with them, but I have business leaders and national politicians to meet as well. I am faithful that my media team is doing a good job, and they collect a good load of valuable feedback from the readers of my blog that I can use in my daily work.