This week, two of E&M's best writers share their favourite European reads. From blog posts to essays, it can be anything that amused them, worried them or got them thinking about Europe.
Not only for parishioners
Even though tons of paper were wasted explaining the sources of the current economic and financial crisis we (including the world leaders) still seem to have more questions than answers. Within dozens of narratives, one is especially interesting for me. Remember some of the points which the Archbishop of Canterbury (or "the turbulent priest" to stay in the British context) Rowan Williams made as a Guest Editor of the New Statesman magazine last year? Well, now Pope Benedict XVI has also decided to take part in the discussion and call for global financial reform. The magazine Foreign Affairs gives us a detailed analysis of the Pope's Note, which was presented at the last G20 Summit. Are the world's leaders ready "to cede their own sovereignty in the interests of global humanity's common good?" I'd argue that the Catholic social teaching can still provide us with some rerum novarum ("new things").
Once we've acknowledged that Europe isn't supposed to end up as a cathedral, nor as a cube let's see what's happening in its Southern neighbourhood. Almost a year after the Arab Spring, it's still not easy to assess the outcomes of the revolutionary wave that swept across the North Africa. The elections held in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco led to the victory of Islamist parties. Will they have a pragmatic stance or try to introduce Sharia rules to the law? What kind of problems are they going to face in the near future and what did they inherit from their authoritarian predecessors? And finally, how will the Islamists' electoral triumph influence relations with the EU? Professor Moha Ennaji gives a fascinating response in his article "The Maghreb’s Modern Islamists" at Project Syndicate.
Communicating EU technocracy
Finally, a few days ago I accidentally found a brilliant blog dispute about the language of the EU. Anyone who has the doubtful pleasure of working on official EU documents or reading EU Council conclusions will get the point straight away. Two political scientists discuss how technocratic discourse of the EU based on the "science rulebook" is relevant (or irrelevant) to passionate political debates. Are EU narratives doomed to be less media friendly than Nigel Farage's tirades? I do think it's high time we began the debate about communication in Europe.
What to do next about Europe …
The crisis still has Europe on the hook and some already doubt whether the continent will ever be able to recover. With this much going on at the moment, it is hard to keep an overview of the economic situation. If you are interested in some insider details, I recommend this paper by the World Bank, which is the short version of a 400-page dossier on how Europe achieved its immense prosperity and how it can stay competitive and recover from the crisis.
… Or how to write about it
You'd rather not plough through any detailed information, and yet you have aspirations to become the next star of the E&M blog? Then I suggest you just read this Guide to lazy EU journalism. It explains in a few short steps how to fill the pages without knowing anything about the processes going on in the EU. So funny - and so true!