Optimism On The German Economy

Both New Economist and MacroBlog seem very upbeat about the prospects for the German economy. Macroblog cites Bloomberg and says “Things are definitely looking up“. New Economist is rather more guarded, pointing to the IMF forecast, and the recent Federal Statistics Office announcement that second quarter growth came in at 0%. But New Economist find faith in an (old) Economist view that things are getting better in Germany’s surprising economy (ask Doug on the main page about the surprising bit 🙂 ). As New Economist says “Of course the Economist can get it wrong, but in thbis case maybe they’re onto something”, while as Edward replies “of course the IMF can get it wrong, but in this case maybe they’re onto something”

The Financial Times definitely comes down on the side of the optimism camp, but in their case with significant prudence:

However, fears Germany?s election system might result in a fractious ?grand coalition? between the CDU and Social Democrats may have damped expectations more recently and economists remain cautious about the strength of any German upswing. Holger Schmieding, economist at Bank of America, warned that expectations were fickle and that ?the economic upswings heralded by major surges in the ZEW in mid-2002 and early 2004 both turned out to be disappointingly shallow and short-lived?.

As for me, well, for my part
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Charting the European Blogosphere.

Actually, I’m not entirely sure there is a European blogosphere yet, as most blogospheres seem to develop in their respective linguistic markets, complemented by a couple of English language (non UK) blogs operating in the same markets. Thus, the European blogosphere, narrowly defined, is still a rather tiny community.
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Bloggeurs In The News

On Thursday it was John Thornhill in the FT, then yesterday Stephen Castle of the Independent joined in. Topic du jour: the battle in cyberspace for the hearts and minds of the French voters.

Conspiracy Theory One: the US administration wants Europe to adopt the constitutional treaty because it would kill off nation states and allow Washington to deal with a more pliable Brussels.

Conspiracy Theory Two: the Bush administration is secretly financing the No campaign in France because it wants to kill off Europe’s ambitions to forge a common foreign policy and rival the US on the world stage.
Financial Times Thursday 28 April

One says that a vote for the EU constitution would please George Bush; another uses a computer game format with arrows from a “yes” vote to a “game over” box. Not only are French opponents of the EU constitution ahead in the opinion polls they are also winning the battle of the blogs.
Independent Saturday 30 April

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Europe: Show Us Your Pajamas!

The Satin Pajamas were a real hoot for me, frankly. Had the 1st Annual European Weblog Awards been submitted to a jury of ?experts,? there?s a general feeling among us Euros in the Fistful that a well-known site like Crooked Timber would have won. And frankly, that would have been boring as hell.

Instead, the vote went the way it should have: It became a popularity contest, and an occasionally crass one at that, amidst a miniature orgy of backbiting and recriminations (?snaggle-toothed, accordion-playing hillbillies? was my personal favorite). This ? sorry to say it folks ? is one of the reasons I love Europe.
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Results of the Satin Pajama Awards

You can still see all the finalists and their share of votes on the award page. They’re all worth a visit. I declare the awards a great success!

Here are the winners of the 1st Annual European Weblog Awards, also known as the Satin Pajamas:

Best Coverage of the EU: Publius by various
Best Weblog From France: Journal d’un avocat by Eolas
Best Weblog From Germany: Lyssas Lounge by Lyssa
Best Political Weblog: Slugger O?Toole by Mick Fealty et al
Best Non-European Weblog: One Good Thing by Leigh Anne Wilson
Best New Weblog: Pestiside by Erik D’Amato et al
Best Humorous Weblog: Sadly, No! by Seb
Best Weblog Focused On A Single Country Or Region: The Glory of Carniola by Michael Manske
Best Tech Weblog: thinking with my fingers by Torill Mortensen
Best Weblog From the United Kingdom: perfect.co.uk by various
Best Southeastern European Weblog: Histologion by Talos
Best Personal Weblog: de bric et de blog by Veuve Tarquine
Best CIS Weblog: Siberian Light by Andy
Best Weblog By An Expatriate: Au Texas, tout le monde est fou sauf moi by Pasfolle
Best Culture Weblog: Emmanuelle.net by Emmanuelle Richard
Weblog Most Deserving of Wider Recognition: Non Tibi Spiro by Guy
Best Writing: How to learn Swedish in 1000 difficult lessons by Francis Strand

and finally (drumroll) …

Best Weblog: The Glory of Carniola by Michael Manske

Congratulations, everyone!

Announcing The First European Weblog Awards

Today is a good day because I get to announce The First European Weblog Awards. The purpose of the awards is to recognize the efforts and contributions of Europe’s many talented bloggers, to maybe help build a sense of community among us, and, more than anything, it’s a chance for people to discover lots of new good blogs.

Also, awards are fun.

Categories chronologically:

Best European Weblog Overall
Best Political Weblog
Best UK Blog
Nominees for Best French Weblog
Nominate Best New Weblog
Nominees for Best German Blog
Nominate Best Non-European Weblog
Nominate Best Culture Weblog
Nominate Best Tech Weblog
Nominees for Best Personal Weblog
Nominees for Best Expat Blog
Best Coverage of A Single Country or Region
Nominate Most Underappreciated Weblog
Nominees for Best Coverage of the European Union
Nominees for Best Southeastern European Weblog
Nominees for Best CIS blog
Nominees for Best Writing


You can nominate as many blogs as you like. Please don’t be shy about nominating your own blog.

There’ll be a post for each category. Nominations should preferably be in the form of comments or trackbacks to the relevant post.

Only European blogs are elegible. By that we mean that the blog should be written by Europeans, or else focus on some European issue. (Czech, Catalan…)

This weblog is not eligible for any awards, but our contributors’ other blogs are.

The nominating phase will go on for several weeks. The finalists will be determined by the number of nominations and our discretion.

We’ll introduce categories gradually during the day, and maybe tomorrow throughout the week. I will update this post with links to the nomination posts.
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German Is Getting Sexy Again. Again.

The controverse reaction to Edward’s use of a French block quote in a blog that claims to be the place for intelligent English language coverage of European affairs, made me remember my first blogging conversation. It was a discussion about Germans not publishing in English and the stipulation by the Norwegian blogger Bj?rn St?rk that ??nothing beautiful or sensible should ever be written in Norwegian, if it could be written in English.? So after speaking French all evening, and in light of the above mentioned comments as well as my imminent visit to the Frankfurt International Book Fair (link in English) I felt compelled to recycle my defence of linguistic diversity as a virtue of its own right, which was first published in a slightly different version in almost a diary on February 2nd, 2003.

Bj?rn St?rk had a look around the web and was astonished by the fact that he could find relatively few European, particularly German and French, (particularly political) blogs published in English. Contemplating the deeper issue at hand – the relation of national cultures and supra-national languages – in this case English – in an age of global interaction – Bj?rn made an interesting argument concerning cultural imperialism, linguistic protectionism, linguistic economies of scale and scope as well as the advantages of publishing in English instead of one?s native language.

No doubt about it – English has become some sort lingua franca in many respects.

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You can help

Does anyone have suggestions for good blogs? I’m especially interested in blogs with an European perspective and ones covering the politics of a European country or region, but any good blogs are of interest of course.

One of my megalomanical hopes for AFOE was that we could use it to create a European corner of the blogosphere. Just as there is a comics blogosphere, a linguablogger blogosphere, a German blogosphere, and on a larger scale a techie blogosphere and a US politics blogosphere, there should be a pan-European politics blogosphere.

Basically I want every worthwhile English language blog about european politics to be on our blogroll. And I want as many as possible of them to become aware of each other and start talking to each other.

I think we have enough traffic for it to be actually achievable.