Europe in doubt
The multiple faces of Euroscepticism
Interview with the man who stoleÂ the show from Berlin in 2009
Content Europe in doubt
Europe in doubt
The multiple faces of Euroscepticism
© Robero TRIOSCHI
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Interview with the man who stole the show from Berlin in 2009
The multiple faces of Euroscepticism Cover illustration by Roberto Trioschi Photos © Teemu Matynen & Monika Flueckiger
Warm Up – A fresh look at things Carte Blanche – Balkans: tomorrow, in Europe?
© Vinay Deep
The Bill – 21.09 – 21.12.2009: remember, erase and rewind…or not. The Diary – Winter 2009 The Clash – Peace Prize, ‘noble’ choice? Europe across the world – Aid for Africa: “less Bono, more Moyo”?
Cover Story Europe in doubt 15 Analysis – The multiples faces of Euroscepticism 18 Interview – “Any new political project needs constructive criticism” 19 Opinion – Who are the European Commissioners exactly? 20 Crisscross – The other side of the coin 21 Analysis – EU-27: neither hell nor heaven 22 26 28
Snapshots – The man who shrank the world
Venice Biennale 2009 – Making Worlds
Shifting with Usain Bolt The Book – Red Hands of Jens Christian Grøndahl
© Gian Vaitl
© PACE Sports Management
DrawingBoard By João Silva
The EU adventures of MR. Economy and MR. Jobs
A fresh look at things
SHIFTMag is turning over a new leaf – and not before time, I hear you cry… Over recent years, certain key accomplishments, events and opinions have made the world look at things in a different way, even things that many of us regarded as offering irrefutable evidence of something or other. Specialists in the limits of the human body long believed that no one could run 100 metres in less than 9.72 seconds – that is, until Usain Bolt came along. In Europe, we tend to regard Western aid for Africa as an absolute necessity to help this continent develop better. Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo provides evidence of its failure, which is a big blow to Europe’s efforts for 60 years. Will this change the way the EU perceives the aid system? On a political level, the EU hasn’t yet found a magic formula to win over all Europeans. But are Eurosceptics credible enough to offer an alternative? The choice of “Nobelising” Obama, who has provided the world with hope, carries echoes of when Gorbatchev scooped the Nobel Prize in 1990 … heralding a “new world order” which never really came about. Déjà vu, or a fresh look at things?
ReservoirBlogs Will the EU lose importance?
On his blog http://julienfrisch.blogspot.com, Julien Frisch thinks he is becoming an EU sceptic (big deal!). Even more so, now that the new EU Troika is known (much bigger deal!): “With Barroso, van Rompuy and Ashton, the EU gets the worst Troika anyone could have imagined. I have just decided to learn Chinese, because the EU will definitely lose importance over the next years.” Will it really? And by the time Julien finishes learning Chinese in five, six or seven years from now, are we sure China will be much more important than the EU? Is this Troika actually going to make the EU lose importance at international level? Wouldn’t it be better to judge these three people by their acts? Of course, Mr Shift accepts these people are not the most charismatic people, but isn’t it wiser to wait and see before becoming an EU sceptic just because of a Troika?...
Balkans: tomorrow, in Europe? For this second carte blanche, Jean-Arnault Dérens (Le Courrier des Balkans) takes over the baton from Benoît Roussel (Les Euros du village). The editor in chief of the French webzine shares his views on the EU enlargement process, which has been slowing unabated since the “Big Bang” of 2004-2007. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the European Union has poured billions of euro into the Balkans to deal with the wars in Yugoslavia and attempt to “manage” post-war periods. It has sent teams of experts and deployed police, judges and even soldiers – often with poor results. Since the beginning of this century, the EU has stopped being simply the generous donor, responsible virtually on its own for financing the reconstruction; it set out an initiative: the European Summit in Thessaloniki (June 2003) officially announced that all countries in the “Western Balkans” had a “vocation” to join Europe. However, a vocation with no schedule or deadline remains a platonic vocation: the process of European integration has broken down, as a result of the institutional crisis of Europe itself and its limited “absorption capacities” – is Europe suffering from indigestion? Delving further, the global economic crisis serves to justify the cautious approach currently adopted by Europe.
ANOTHER ‘BERLIN WALL’ ABOUT TO FALL
On 23 December, however, a major gesture will be made: citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia will be able to move about the Schengen area freely without needing a visa, for a maximum period of three months and without the right to work there. For the citizens of the countries concerned, this is another “Berlin Wall” about to fall. However, this
In Partnership with
measure does not apply to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania, which see this discrimination as a major injustice. What’s more, there is a fear that in reality this significant gesture will serve to “compensate” the countries concerned for the long-term freezing policy of the integration process.
Nonetheless, the “Western Balkans” today form a type of “islet” within the EU’s borders – an islet of misery and poor development and a natural source of migration. While none of the region’s problems have truly been solved, in Bosnia or Kosovo, the political debate always boils down to two options: European integration and “going beyond” borders, or nationalism and the risk of new conflicts. In an attempt to prevent these new conflicts, the EU will deploy new missions and send new experts. It will finance reconstruction and use inefficient and costly “tutelage” mechanisms over many years. Will the European Union ever understand that it is in its interest to have a resolute and voluntarist policy for rapid integration of all countries from the Western Balkans? Jean-Arnault Dérens, Editor in chief of Le Courrier des Balkans.
Le Courrier des Balkans
Created in 1998, Le Courrier des Balkans produces and distributes an electronic publication in French, channelling information and analyses from the democratic press in the Balkans. The main aim of this webzine is to translate articles published in the press in countries of SouthEastern Europe.
Jean-Arnault Dérens was born in 1968. He is a historian and also works as a journalist covering the Balkans for Ouest-France, Le Temps (Geneva), La Libre Belgique (Brussels) and RFI (Paris). He is the founder and editor in chief of Le Courrier des Balkans and Le Courrier de Biélorussie, and also works with Le Monde diplomatique.
TheBill 21.09 – 21.12.2009: remember, erase and rewind…or not. 83% of African
© Gallup Migration Data
refugees live in Africa, not in Europe contrary to generally accepted ideas. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), African regions that generated most of the refugees take 80–90% of them in – they pass from one bordering country to another.
Signing of a protocol normalising diplomatic relationships between Turkey and Armenia “94 years after”, as ran the headline in the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet
worldwide would migrate permanently and escape from their homeland if they had the opportunity, according to a poll conducted by the American research company Gallup Organization in 135 countries (260 000 people) between 2007 and 2009.
The 38 000 European civil servants
should get a 3.7% pay rise in 2009 following a proposal from the European Commission (26 November). Quite polemic while in the meantime the Baltic States, Greece, Ireland and Hungary, have each applied pay freezes to civil servants… With an annual net salary of €304 000, the newly elected first President of the European Council will earn more than US President Obama… Yes Herman, you can!
Newsweek called on Italy to “dumb Berlusconi”
700 million people
The former French president Jacques Chirac called for trial for corruption
Pristina (Kosovo) welcomed the Rolling Film Festival, the first film festival dedicated to Roma
Iceland says goodbye to Ronald MacDonald. The fast-food restaurant has become the latest victim of the island’s overexposure to the world financial crisis
Suddenly it’s autumn
The English band Skunk Anansie starts its European “Greatest Hits Tour 2009” after eight years of silence
One season within one minute
© Plane Stupid
“An average European flight produces over 400kg of greenhouse gases for every passenger… that’s the weight of an adult polar bear”. Simulating a rain of flying bears’ corpses, this is the message delivered by the British activist group Plane Stupid in its new video campaign against intra-European flights.
400kg of CO2
“To work out how to operate a television set, you practically have to make love to the thing”
1,7 million of people
have moved from East Germany to West Germany since November 1989 according to estimates. This steady exodus combined with the negative growth of its population and a half-reduced birth rate have led to a drop in the population of what was the former GDR, from 17 to 15 million in 2009.
Prince Philip, the 88 year old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, complaining about the challenges of using modern television equipment.
“He was unfortunate, but the publicity generated by his death was so much...It was good for F1.” Bernie Ecclestone talking about former F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna, in an interview given to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo (18 October 2009).
“20% of Berlin population are economically useless”
3% less CO2 emissions
Former Finance Minister of the Berlin Land, Thilo Sarrazin, in the German magazine Lettre International.
in 2009 than last year as a consequence of the economic crisis according to the International Energy Agency… Thank your banker for making it possible!
“The fall of the Wall restored the sense of individuality. We have become allergic to “us”… ” Jens Bisky, journalist and son of Lothar Bisky (ex-leader of the German neocommunist PDS party).
“With each leap, I imagine it falling into the sand. I imagine millions of spectators move closer to their TV sets, their eyes widening and, in dozens of dialects and languages, ask how Andre Agassi’s hair has fallen from his head”
5% of children
“When the College of Cardinals elects a new pope, it chooses a Catholic…”
Guy Verhofstadt the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, referring to Habemus Papam, expressed his willingness to see a confirmed European at the head of the European Council.
“Paddy Power welcomes you to Ireland, unless you're called Thierry”
21.12 Shift Mag goes to print
Goodbye Autumn… Hello Winter!
© Charlie Brewer – David orban – zac mc – Chascow
24 hours later the joke becomes reality
The Lisbon Treaty eventually comes into legal force two years after it was signed
The French politician Christine Lagarde, is ranked first in the Financial Times ranking of EU Finance Ministers 2009. Two years ago she was ranked last
The UK’s Daily Express angrily headlines with “BRITAIN RULED BY A BELGIAN? YOU MUST BE JOKING”, fuelling the British media campaign against Herman Van Rompuy in line to be chosen as President of the European Council
The Russian tennis player Marat Safin retires after an ultimate defeat. His career record: 12 seasons, 17 titles and more than 500 broken rackets
The Ireland’s largest bookmaker Paddy Power has launched a new advertising campaign surfing the waves of polemics with humour.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus signs the Lisbon Treaty and declares “With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Czech Republic has ceased to be a sovereign state”
The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss deserts the “Tristes Tropiques” forever
Andre Agassi admitting in his autobiography “Open”, that the lion’s mane hairstyle he sported during the 1990s was actually a wig.
in Scotland believe that Adolf Hitler was the coach of the German national football team; 6% of them think that Holocaust is the commemoration of the end of the Second World War; 15% are convinced that Auschwitz is in fact a theme park. These figures come from a survey involving 2 000 children which was carried out by Erskine – an association of war veterans – in the framework of 11 November “celebrations”. But what exactly do we celebrate on 11 November?
Winter is just around the corner. Don't stay home, there are a bunch of good reasons not to simply sit around the fireplace. Go out and get a taste of Europe’s dynamic cultural life. By Florence Ortmans
Prague Winter Festival Prague
2-7 January 2010
Temple Bar TradFest Dublin
Until 24 January 2010
27-31 January 2010
The Prague Winter Festival features many opportunities to enjoy opera, ballet and classical music performances in the Estates Theatre, The Prague State Opera, The National Theatre and the famous Dvorak Hall of the Prague Rudolfinum. Featured composers this year are: Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Lehar,Strauss, Smetana and Shostakovich.
Temple Bar Trad is Dublin's premier celebration of traditional music and culture. It has grown in size over the past 5 years and now includes headline concerts, free events, photography exhibition, films, a substantial family programme, a colourful parade and lots more. The Temple Bar TradFest was voted Best Traditional Music festival at the recent Irish Festival Awards.
Viareggio Carnival Viareggio
21 January – 7, 14, 16, 21 February 2010
© Vinay Deep
Angoulême International Comics Festival (37th edition) Angoulême
Beatles to Bowie: the 60s exposed London www.npg.org.uk This major exhibition explores the leading pop music personalities who helped create 'Swinging London' in the 1960s. Over 150 photographs, together with a range of memorabilia, illustrate how the photographic image, music and performance made these popstars the leading icons of their time.
It’s forbidden to forbid! Lisbon
Until 31 January 2010
28-31 January 2010
The most spectacular in Italy, Viareggio Carnival is famous worldwide for its incredible papiermaché floats and masks, which satirise public and political figures. Huge allegorical puppets parade around the town, competing for the finest float award.
www.bdangouleme.com The Angoulême International Comics Festival is the meeting place for all comic book lovers and all those who want to explore the ‘ninth art’ in all its facets – a world of imagination, diversity and passion.
IT’S FORBIDDEN TO FORBID! takes us on a journey back in time to the late 1960s and early 1970s through its presentation of around 60 exhibits interweaving design and fashion with cinema, literature and music to create a rich portrait of that period.
It’s our Earth 2. From Kyoto to Copenhagen Brussels
10 September 2009 – 28 March 2010 www.expo-terra.be
2 October 2009 – 24 January 2010 www.galleriaborghese.it
Amália, Coração independente Lisbon
6 October 2009 – 31 January 2010 www.museuberardo.com Oporto International Film Festival Oporto
22 February – 7 March 2010 www.fantasporto.com
VinterJazz All over Denmark
22 January – 7 February 2010 www.vinterjazz.dk
Vienna Ball Season Vienna
9-13 February 2010
Stockholm Furniture Fair Stockholm
January-Februari 2010 The tradition of balls is deeply rooted in the Austrian History. To attend a ball you should at least now how to waltz, an obligatory to this formal dance event. Between January and February, when it is "Fasching", the Austrian Carnival, balls are held nearly every weekend in different locations.
International Film Festival Rotterdam Rotterdam
27 January – 7 February 2010 www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com
The International Film Festival Rotterdam offers a quality selection of worldwide independent, innovative and experimental cinema and visual arts. Devoted to offering a platform to and actively supporting independent filmmaking from around the globe, the Festival is the essential hub for discovering film talent and for catching the early buzz on many world and international premieres.
Malta’s Carnival Various places in Malta
Anima - Brussels International Animation Film Festival Brussels
12-20 February 2010 www.animatv.be
Over one hundred and fifty films in the international competition (shorts and features, commercials, music videos), retrospectives, exhibitions, lessons, workshops for the kids, the Futurama professional days, round-table discussions, numerous guests and film concerts make Brussels an international appointment not to be ignored. It's also the place to find out about Belgian animation with a national competition and screenings in panorama.
12-16 February 2010
Celtic Connections Festival Glasgow
14-31 January 2010
James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific Bonn
28 August 2009 – 28 February 2010 www.kah-bonn.de
Peace Prize, ‘noble’ choice ? An award for faint hope? A popular winner? A poisoned chalice? Premature, deserved or unearned? President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize was one of the most controversial topics of the autumn… and not for the first time in the case of Nobel prize-winners. Since its creation, the Nobel Prize has generated many controversies. Is the Nobel Peace Prize still in the vein of its father? The debate is now open.
© Erica Joy
Mural of Barack Obama in Bushwick, Brooklyn (New York – USA)
Fiodor Loukianov Chief editor of the magazine Russia in global affairs.
Once former U.S. president Jimmy Carter participated at a conference in Stockholm and was on the podium next to the executive director of the Nobel Foundation of that time, Stig Ramel. "Why didn’t you give me the Peace Prize for the Camp David Accords?" - asked Carter with bitterness. “Unfortunately, at that time the procedural rules made it impossible at the moment of the conclusion of the peace agreement", - said Ramel. "If you gave me the prize, I would have been re-elected president" said Carter with a sigh. The journalists are wondering during what week of the Obama’s presidency he was nominated candidate so that this meet the required deadlines to nominate - maybe during the second or the third week. So this means that he was nominated not even for his intentions but simply for the mere fact of his existence in the presidential office. But unlike Carter who considered that the Nobel Prize would guarantee his political success, for Obama the situation is the opposite. The prize can become a serious impediment. The candidate turns to be in a very awkward position by receiving such a big binding that he did not ask for. And for American public opinion the fact that the obvious external head of the U.S. was pushed to hold a policy can hardly be considered positive.
No politician, especially one having such a big function had ever been honored with the Nobel Prize not for his actions, but solely for his intentions. The will of Alfred Nobel stated that the Peace Prize is supposed to reward those "who will make a substantial contribution to the unity of peoples, the abolition of slavery, the decline of the existing armies and sustain the peace accords.” It is clear that such a contribution can be considered the formulation of a program, a certain philosophy of international relations, something that affects the situation in the world. But such awards are given to intellectuals and human rights activists (the most vivid example - Andrei Sakharov). When it comes to political figures, especially those invested with such enormous power as Obama, then the decision has to be based on real achievements. The most important idea during the first year of Obama’s presidency is the path to the destruction of nuclear weapons. Not even the most cold-hearted idealists believe in the possibility of a minimal success in this direction. Many seriously question appeared regarding the advisability of a practical embodiment of this idea. Nobel Committee adheres to the principle to encourage the processes which the jury considers important. In the last paragraph of the message of giving the award to Obama it was said: “For
The Norwegian Nobel Committee
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five members that reflect the relative strengths of the political parties in the Norwegian parliament. They are appointed by the Norwegian parliament for a six-year term.
108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that 'Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.'” The Nobel Prize is, with all the inevitable shortcomings, an indicator of the state of the world. If we take for example the period after 2003, all the laureates show the decline of the "new world order". There has been only one organization that won the prize – MAGATE – who attempted to support the crumbling regime of nonproliferation. The others laureates, individuals, they were seeking to do something by themselves that did not cope with the degraded institutions. The common idea was that if it was impossible to create peace and prosperity at the top of the hierarchy, at least support those who are trying to contribute to this at the foot of the hierarchy. Last year award was the evidence of a deep crisis in the international system. Especially was pointed Marti Ahtisaari, the author of the plan for resolving the Kosovo problem that not even haven’t been realized, but also led to the illegal decision on Kosovo status who had negative international implications (the Caucasian War).
The rewarding of Barack Obama is simultaneously a gesture of despair and the symbol of faith in a miracle. During the 20 years since the Cold War, the world order could not be established. Neither the institutions, nor the individuals could stop the gradual structural destabilization. Almost all the conflicts for the resolution of which were awarded in 1990's can be considered as settled, except the Ulster, and only in some the situation has deteriorated dramatically (Middle East). The international organizations did not regain their influence, but most authoritarian regimes feel confident. And there appears a man who embodies the change for his nation and millions of people on the planet. He is charming and eloquent, he speaks only the right thing and calls for great purposes. Everybody wants to believe that he is capable not only to speak, but also to accomplish the things he is speaking about. Because if he cannot do it, people won’t know what to expect anymore. The Nobel Committee took to a very serious risk by putting their reputation at the mercy of politics. Their decision will hold the president superpower, but we shouldn’t forget that he is currently involved in two major armed conflicts and is always ready to use force. But human kind faith in the miracle seems bigger.
Europe across the world
Aid for Africa: “less Bono, more Moyo”? With her first book “Dead Aid” the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo has become a symbol of Africa that says “No” to the West. By Pierre Haski “Hello, Mr President, I’m calling to inform you that your country’s international aid will be cut off five years from now.” This imaginary phone call is the recommendation made to western governments and bodies providing aid for Africa by the Zambian economist, Dambisa Moyo, the new darling of some international circles. Her book, “Dead Aid”, published last summer, has certainly succeeded in sparking much debate. This young woman’s words carry some weight: after graduating from Harvard and Oxford, she worked for the World Bank and then had a spell with merchant bankers Goldman Sachs. Above all, however, she embodies the first African voice in a debate firmly monopolised for forty years by western politicians, researchers and… pop stars. Dambisa Moyo, ranked by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2009, now has a pretty broad fan base. Advocates include American ‘neocon’ Paul Wolfowitz – former president of the World Bank – and British historian Niall Ferguson, whose gushing written introduction to Moyo’s book ends with him calling for “a lot more Moyo, and a lot less Bono”.
Dambisa Moyo’s book comes in two parts: part one is a hard-hitting exposé of what she decries as the absolute failure of the aid strategy for Africa pursued since former colonies gained independence; part two, more controversially, suggests alternative avenues that pay more than their dues to market forces.
a beneficial effect. The upshot of aid, in her opinion, is slower growth, greater poverty, and Africa’s exclusion from economic progress. Aid, she believes, is the crux of the problem.
She contends therefore that it is virtually impossible, based on experiences in Africa, to support the argument that aid has had
Hence her proposal to announce formally a gradual, but uncompromising, cut in systematic aid over a period of five to ten years.
Moyo has trained her sights on the visions – some paternalist, others ideological, e.g. the propping-up of president Mobutu in Zaire in order to counter the Soviet influThe failure of aid ence – or simply the blindness of what she Moyo’s indictment of international aid dubs the “aid industry”, which provides a pulls no punches. Indeed, if her figures are living for hundreds of thousands of peoanything to go by, her argument is pretty ple around the world. Above all, she obpersuasive: she asserts serves, there that the 300 billion dolappears to be The upshot of aid is lars or so pumped into little prospect slower growth, greater poverty of an end to the sub-Saharan Africa since the 1970s, representing and Africa’s exclusion from bounty: African some 15% of the conti- economic progress governments, nent’s GDP (proportionshe says, now ally four times more than the American regard aid as a permanent and secure Marshall Plan), has served merely to source of income and have no reason to bebreed corruption, poverty and inefficiency lieve that the flows of aid will not continue and cause a brain drain. indefinitely.
Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria hugs Bono, Musician, UK and welcomes him to the session 'Next Steps for Africa' at the Annual Meeting 2006 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2006. © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) swiss-image.ch/Photo by Gian Vaitl
What alternative to aid?
Dambisa Moyo on the other hand sounds a lot less plausible when it comes to her alternative “road map”. The first solution she espouses – injecting capital – comes at a time of deep financial crisis. Her timing is unfortunate as it undermines her plea for the issuing of bonds or the embracing of market forces in the form of conventional international investment. Similarly, she adopts political stances that are certainly highly unconventional: in an ideal world, she muses, poor countries and those at the bottom of the ladder do not require democracy and a multi-party system, but the firm hand of a benevolent dictator dedicated to pushing through the reforms needed to boost the economy.
However, she then adds dispassionately, such countries all too often unfortunately end up under a dictator’s iron rule and with a congruent portion of benevolence. In the same vein, she entitles one of her chapters “The Chinese are our friends”, in homage to Beijing's role on the continent since the beginning of the decade and the Chinese money provided for a host of infrastructure projects urgently needed by Africa, not to mention Chinese investment in Africa’s economies. China, Moyo argues, will effectively be the African continent’s dominant power in the twenty-first century. No other country over the past sixty years, she maintains, has had an impact on Africa’s political, economic and social structure comparable to that of China since the dawning of the second millennium.
Dambisa Moyo’s theories, not surprisingly, hardly go down well with the proponents of aid for Africa, who are pressing instead for aid to be stepped up. Aid advocates fear that her views will be seized upon by G8 nations struggling to meet their commitments within the framework of the millennium development plan, notably the pledge to increase public aid for development to 0.7% of GDP. We are still a long way short of that particular figure. On the website of Oxfam, one of the major international NGOs committed to development action, the debate is in full flow. An Oxfam campaigner from Malawi, Chikondi Mpokosa, expressed his “disappointment” after reading the Zambian economist’s book. The book, he contends with sadness,
is wrong on two counts: it is wrong to say that aid does not work, and also wrong to say that viable alternatives exist, particularly at a time of economic crisis. Duncan Green, an Oxfam research worker in Great Britain, fears the negative effects of this book, but does acknowledge how his own stance is undermined by the fact that he is white and a member of the very “aid industry” denounced by Moyo. He recognises that the book has struck a sensitive
chord and won a fair number of plaudits, notably from African heads of state like Paul Kagame in Rwanda. The danger, says Duncan Green, is that it offers a ready-made cover for governments, in affluent countries currently facing a financial squeeze, to pull the plug on their aid commitments while declaring: ‘See? The Africans say that aid doesn’t work, so let’s cut our aid budgets’. Those who disagree with Moyo’s theory (and who, as far as I can tell, have a pretty solid case) will find it impossible to argue their corner without appearing to be on the defensive or, worse, to have a personal stake in the debate (present article included). So what can be done to ensure that the debate takes place on sensible terms? The real issue is this: what types of aid are effective, what types are not, and how can we reform the aid system? The danger with Moyo’s book is that it will shortcircuit this very debate.
A UNICEF Back to School campaign in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). © UNICEF - Back to School Campaign/ Basili (DR Congo)/ Harneis
In brief Bad times for development
“The EU gives with one hand and takes back with the other one”, concludes the pan-European platform Concord in a report on policy coherence of the EU in the field of development released on 14 October. The association highlights contradictions between action of the EU as main sponsor in the field of development aid worldwide and its own other policies that are leading to fatal money wasting. The report is available at
E-U... ruguay ► For more information: www.dambisamoyo.com ► This article was originally published on Rue 89 website: www.rue89.com/2009/08/23/aide-a-lafrique-moins-de-bono-plus-de-moyo
“…her critical eye is essential in furthering thought about aid…” Although the title of Dambisa Moyo’s book is striking, her direct and frank style immediately captivated me. Her courage and her critical eye are essential in furthering thought about aid to the poorest countries. I agree with her when she says that Africa’s way of development depends on Africans first and should not be brought in. But African leaders must put world powers in fair competition on their continent, cooperate to support development of Africa and not exploit the huge resources of Africa for their own interest. In this respect I want to remind that an ethic culture of investment and economic development exists in Europe. Louis Michel, former European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
The most European country of South America? Without hesitation: Uruguay. Its population counts almost 90 % of people of European origin - descendants of Spanish colonies or immigrants who came from Spain and Italy. Uruguay is also European by its socioeconomic situation with a large middle class, a birth rate of 1.9 children per woman, 75 years life expectancy, 91% of its inhabitants live in cities and 98% of its inhabitants are able to read and write. (LLB)
Europe in doubt
Europe in doubt
The multiple faces of Euroscepticism
By Nathalie Brack (CEVIPOL, Université libre de Bruxelles)
Euroscepticism, i.e. criticism, doubt and opposition towards the European Union, has attracted much attention over the last decade. At each election for the European Parliament there are worries about the potential rise of so-called eurosceptic political parties and the recent referenda raised questions and concerns over the perceived growing criticism of some parts of the population vis-à-vis the European Union.
© Roberto TRIOSCHI
The novelty though, resides not so much in the phenomenon itself but rather in its increasing visibility, political legitimacy and diversity. Indeed, oppositions to the European project are as old as the project itself. From the time of the first election of the European Parliament, there have been elected representatives who were not yet called eurosceptic but who overtly claimed their opposition to European integration or its implementation. However, it seems that it is only in the 1990’s, with the campaign for the ratification of the Maastricht treaty, or even later in the 2000’s with the debates over the Constitution, that these resistances and oppositions emerged publicly, both within political elites and the public opinion. As the existence and strength of these opposition movements were revealed in many Member States, euroscepticism stopped being perceived as a
Europe in doubt
© Jason ROGERS
typically British phenomenon. The subsequent European elections and the enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe contributed to consolidate this phenomenon and increase its diversity. It was the end of the so-called “permissive and substantive consensus”. The increasing extension of the EU’s competences multiplied the potential sources of tension leading to various types of criticisms throughout Europe. It was further reinforced by the tendency of the EU to engage in numerous debates about its nature and future at each revision of the treaty as well as by the few opportunities for the expression of dissenting voices within EU institutions.
The diversity of the negative stances towards the EU is such that it would be more relevant to use the plural form and talk about euroscepticisms. It is indeed a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, which covers a wide range of positions. For instance, the new European Parliament contains more or less 150 MEPs that can be considered to be eurosceptic, dispatched across 4 political groups, from both the left and the right of the political spectrum, and some are nonattached. If eurosceptics tend to share some common ground such as the denunciation of the EU in its current form, the rejection of recent treaties and rhetoric on the lack of democracy, transparency and accountability of European institutions, several major distinctions need to be stressed. First, the
degree and type of euroscepticism vary a lot between the right and the left and between fringe and mainstream political parties. Right-wing euroscepticism tends to stress the threat the EU poses to the sovereignty of the nation-state, perceived as the sole or the most legitimate and viable framework for the exercise of democracy. Thus, it is the political aspects of European integration, i.e. the transfer of competences from the national to the supranational level, that are perceived as problematic. Some parties also stress the defense of national sovereignty as the only way to fight the feeling of cultural insecurity resulting from the opening of the borders within the EU. For left-wing euroscepticism, it is not so much the political but the economic integration that is seen as threatening the social rights acquired at the
Europe in doubt
Main references Costa, O., Brack, N., “The Role(s) of the Eurosceptic MEPs”, in Fuch, D., Magni-Berton, R., Roger, A., (dir.), Euroscepticism. Images of Europe among mass publics and political elites, Barbara Budrich Publishers, Opladen and Farmington Hills, MI, 2009, pp. 253-272. Crespy, A., Verschueren, N., “From Euroscepticism to Resistance to European Integration: An Interdisciplinary Perspective”, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, vol.10, n°3, 2009, pp.377-393. Hastings, M., “Nordicité et euroscepticisme” in Coman, R., Lacroix, J., Les résistances à l’Europe, cultures nationales, idéologies et stratégies d’acteurs, Bruxelles, Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles, 2007, pp 93-110. Harmsen, R., Spiering, M., Euroscepticism: Party politics, National Identity and European integration, Rodopi, Amsterdalm, 2004. Taggart, P., Szczerbiak, A., Opposing Europe? The comparative party politics of Euroscepticism, v olume 1: case studies and country surveys, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008.
national level. EU policies are presented as too neoliberal and as a menace for the welfare state. Some left-wing parties also tend to denounce the “militarism” of the EU and therefore reject any common European defense policy. While right-wing eurosceptics stress the need to protect the nation state and national identity, left-wing eurosceptics call for an alternative European project. In addition to that, there are huge differences between fringe and mainstream eurosceptic parties, the former tending to display a much harsher level of criticism or even in some case a total rejection of the EU and the integration process. It is worth noting that in many countries, euroscepticism is the fact of fringe parties, be they left-wing or right-wing.
European doubts, national debates
Furthermore euroscepticism is strongly embedded in the national context. The phenomenon varies greatly from countryto-country. In many states, euroscepticism seems to remain the prerogative of the extreme-right which incorporates it into its traditional nationalist rhetoric (for instance Belgium, Bulgaria or Romania). Some Member states experience euroscepticism at both extremes of the left-right scale: mainstream parties are globally in favour of the
The diversity of the negative stances towards the EU is such that it would be more relevant to talk about euroscepticisms
EU while radical right and radical left parties denounce it. Some countries also have single-issue eurosceptic parties, focusing primarily on European elections to combat the EU or promote the withdrawal of the country from the EU (for instance Denmark and Sweden). Finally, there are also some countries where one can find both mainstream and fringe parties exhibiting different degrees of euroscepticism, fringe parties being more extreme in their rejection of the EU and mainstream parties calling themselves “eurorealists” or “eurocritics”. This is for instance the case in Poland or in the Czech Republic. In a certain sense British euroscepticism remains exceptional: criticism directed at the EU is diffuse (both within political parties, among citizens and in the media), is expressed politically by mainstream, fringe and single-issue parties covering a wide range of eurosceptic positions, some of which display a strong sense of cultural “otherness”, of “non-belonging” that is not to be found so strongly anywhere else in Europe.
In Constant Change
Moreover, euroscepticism is a dynamic phenomenon: on the one hand because attitudes towards the EU can change over time and on the other hand because the object of criticism (the EU) is a moving target that evolves continuously. Last but not least, it is important to distinguish euroscepticism from ‘reformism’, resulting from the increasing politicization of European issues in the national public spheres. If the former entails a permanent questioning of the very existence of the European polity in its current form and of the pursuit of European integration, the latter is a matter of civic engagement and supposes the recognition of the objectives and achievements of the European project as well as some sympathy towards the continuation of that project.
Europe in doubt
“Any new political project needs constructive criticism” Being a former eurosceptic who became pro-EU, Nosemonkey's EUtopia blogger James Clive-Matthews agreed in giving us his opinion on Euroscepticism. He is still critical about the EU but not anymore in the same way Eurosceptics are. Interview by Frédéric Darmuzey 1. In the blog nosemonkey, you explain your views. How have you passed from being entirely anti-EU to largely pro-EU?
It was pretty much down to studying more about what the EU actually does. Once I knew a bit more of the realities, I suddenly started to realise that a lot of my eurosceptic assumptions were based on misunderstandings and ideological prejudice. Much of what it was being criticised for was not the fault of the EU itself - and in a surprising number of cases nothing to do with the EU at all. This showed up the ignorance of the British press and most British commentators, which led me to question many of the "facts" that I had picked up over the years that had led me to be anti-EU. I had a naive belief in the press - that it's the job of the press to be critical of ALL political insitutions, and that if the EU was criticised for pretty much everything it does, that was because it deserved it.
2. What are the main shortcomings of the eurosceptic group?
The classic train of thought of many eurosceptics is "EU project X works badly, EU directive Y is unnecessary to be legislated at an EU level, and evidence of corruption has been uncovered at EU institution Z - therefore the EU is a bad thing". The first big problem is therefore false logic. Just because X, Y and Z are bad doesn't mean that everything is. The second major problem - which is a significant part of the reason that I was driven away from being eurosceptic - is that anti-
EU groups and commentators tend to repeat misinformation and misinterpretations as if they were objective fact. The third major problem is the tendency to preach to the converted - often in incredibly hyperbolic terms. Claims that the Lisbon Treaty will end national sovereignty or restrict individual freedoms are objective nonsense - but play well to that part of the population that is convinced that the EU is evil. This serves to undermine the legitimacy of the anti-EU cause in the eyes of that part of the population that hasn't yet made up its mind.
3. Do you think eurosceptics could weigh up in EU decisions if people took them more seriously?
If eurosceptics were actually sceptical, they could and would be taken seriously because any new political project (and 50 years is still very new) needs constructive criticism in order to improve itself. The trouble is, most eurosceptics are cynical. They assume the worst - where to be sceptical should, strictly speaking, simply mean that they are unwilling to take anything at face value. There's a major difference between being sceptical/suspicious and being cynical/hostile. The former is constructive and helpful - and can be advantageous to both sides, as critical opponents can water down the negative things that they have identified while positive supporters can hopefully take the criticism on board and improve what they are
trying to do. The latter helps no one, and only breeds resentment on both sides. If the anti-EU groups engaged constructively, they'd win some concessions and reforms.
4. Five good reasons to be Eurosceptic and Five good reasons to be Pro- European in Europe today? Eurosceptic:
• The EU is flawed. • The EU is less democratic than many would like. • The EU is remote from the people, and often seems deliberately so. • Parts of the EU organisational structure are secretive and protective of their own interests. • There is some evidence of corruption in some parts of the EU's organisation.
• The ideal of bringing people together for mutual benefit is a fundamentally good one. • The EU does aid intra-European trade. • The EU has eased intra-European travel. • The EU has helped break down barriers and increase understandings and friendships between nations and the people of those nations. • The EU allows for regular, multi-level contact between the governments and state machinery of every member state in an absolutely unprecedented manner - used properly this can be an incredibly powerful, beneficial tool for all parties.
Connect yourself at www.shiftmag.eu and read this interview in its entirety.
Europe in doubt
Strangers in the night of Brussels
Who are the European Commissioners exactly?
By Jon Worth
Most citizens can name the Prime Minister of their country, perhaps a few more ministers too. But how many citizens of the European Union can name the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, let alone any of the 26 Commissioners that compose the College of Commissioners, the closest Brussels has to some kind of cabinet government. Yet unlike a national cabinet the composition of the Commission is not directly dependent on the democratic mandate of the people, as each country puts forward its Commissioner. There is nothing in the EU’s treaties to prevent a country holding a national vote to decide on its nominee but no country has ever tried that route. So the nomination of a Commissioner is as a result of a proverbial smoke-filled-rooms negotiation within a government, and that is even before the complexities of Brussels have been encountered, for the allocation of the
portfolios to the European Commissioners is some sort of adaption of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: All Commissioners are equal but some are more equal than others. In other words the larger Member States jostle for the juicy jobs. The European Parliament has to approve the incoming team of Commissioners, a process due to be completed this time in December 2009 or January 2010. Yet the consensual nature of the European Parliament means that only if a Commissioner makes absurd statements, such as Rocco Buttiglione’s
comments on the rights of gay and lesbian people in 2004, is the Parliament likely to kick up a fuss about the composition of the Commission. The outgoing Commission comprises no less than three former Prime Ministers, and almost every Commissioner has be a government minister at national level before taking office. So it is not that the Commissioners lack clout; it is instead that the complicated and opaque selection procedure, and the lack of clear democratic accountability always means their role is unclear for European citizens.
A Gender Balanced Commission?
A new team of Commissioners will take office at the end of 2009 or at the start of 2010 and the question often posed in Brussels at the moment is: how many women are going to be in the new Commission? The futur Commission should be 1/3 female, with only 9 female Commissioners. An online petition – genderbalancedcommission.eu – has been started as a way to highlight this issue, with the hope of making the Commission at least a little more representative of Europe’s population.
Europe in doubt
The other side of the coin By ANette NOVAK There is a Swedish expression that goes “down on the Continent”. This feeling of “us and them” lies at the heart of the apparent concern currently being felt in Sweden about the euro. Early on, we were one of the world’s most connected countries. Our social security and welfare system and efforts in the field of gender equality are often presented worldwide as standards to strive for. The way we see ourselves is that we are just that little bit better than everyone else. It is my belief that this inflated self-image is somehow part of the reason why Swedes do not feel the need for a currency union. Cooperation here implies strengthening our position – but what if we feel there is nothing to strengthen? The results of the referendum held in Sweden in 2003 were: 42.0% in favour, 55.9% against. Although Sweden had promised to introduce the euro on adopting the Treaty of Maastricht (in 1995), the country has since managed to stay out, claiming exemptions and remaining in a “let’s wait and see” void. In the meantime, the euro has gained ground while the value of the krona has dropped considerably. You’d think that in the light of these developments, opposition against the euro would have weakened. Yet, in spite of a certain shift in public opinion, the scepticism towards the common
dess levt på undantag i ett ”låt oss vänta och se”-vakuum.
© Frédéric HAYOT
currency remains widespread in survey after survey. Self-determination is the opponents’ strongest argument: they want to keep control over economic and monetary policy. They also regard common monetary policy as a step towards a super state. There is also concern over rising prices. The current burning issue is how the different party groups will react. Pressure is hard and the European Commission has threatened to take Sweden to court on grounds of the refusal. The governing alliance cannot agree on how to deal with the situation. Folkpartiet leader Jan Björklund and EU minister Cecilia Malmström want to see a referendum. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (M) has opted for postponing the debate. Should a shift of power take place, the debate could be postponed until an even later time: Social Democrat Mona Sahlin has stated that no referendum on the euro would take place, not even during the next term of office.
Vi har ett uttryck i Sverige som lyder ”nere på kontinenten”. Denna ”vi och dom”-upplevelse ligger som en fond bakom den tydliga eurooron i Sverige. Tidigt var vi världens mest uppkopplade land. Vårt sociala trygghetsnät och vårt jämställdhetsarbete brukar lyftas fram som ideal världen över. Självförståelsen är att vi är lite bättre. Jag tror det är någonstans i denna uppblåsta egenbild går att hitta delar till förklaringen till varför svenskarna inte känner ett behov av någon valutaunion. Samarbete innebär att man stärker sin position – men hur om man inte anser att där finns något värt att förstärka? Sverige genomförde 2003 en folkomröstning som slutade med siffrorna 42,0 procent ja, och 55,9 procent nej. Trots att Sverige (1995) i och med anslutningen till Maastrichtfördraget lovat att inför euron har man sedan
Parallellt har euron stärkts och kronan försvagats rejält. Mot den bakgrunden skulle man kunna tro att euromotståndet nu brutits ner. Och även om en viss opinionsförflyttning skett är skepticismen mot den gemensamma valutan är fortsatt massiv i undersökning efter undersökning. Motståndarnas tyngsta argument handlar om självbestämmande: de vill behålla greppet om penning- och finanspolitiken. Man ser också den gemensamma penningpolitiken som ett steg mot en superstat. Den brännande frågan nu är hur partiblocken kommer att agera - under hård press från EU-kommissionen, som hotat dra Sverige inför domstol för sin vägran. Den regerande alliansen är inte överens om hur man ska tackla frågan. Folkpartiet med partiledare Jan Björklund och EU-minister Cecilia Malmström i spetsen vill se en folkomröstning. Men statsminister Fredrik Reinfeldt (M) har velat skjuta på debatten. Blir det maktskifte lär det dröja ännu längre: Socialdemokraternas Mona Sahlin har slagit fast att det inte blir någon euroomröstning ens under nästa mandatperiod.
Europe in doubt
EU-27: neither hell nor heaven Does Ode to Joy still echo from Tallinn to Sofia? But maybe the right question should be: has it ever done so since the enlargement of the European Union (EU) to Eastern Europe? By Jean-Michel DE WAELE (CEVIPOL)
Simplistic Euroscepticism has turned into a more banal Euroscepticism – as in United Kingdom and France. The EU has become a feature of life; it has become more popular in Central Europe because people can observe its concrete effects. At the same time the EU is disappointing, because all the promises that Brussels made to these countries have not come to fruition. Results are positive but mitigated. Moreover, the economic cataclysm which was predicted by the most Eurosceptic observers has not happened. Poland didn’t disappear. The Czechs still speak Czech. Western Europe was not invaded by Polish plumbers: hell didn’t come but then neither did heaven. Unfortunately knowledge, fear and stereotypes of people from Eastern Europe have not changed. Western Europe is going east backwards, to meet people it is afraid of; people it blames for many of its ills. The new Member States are unpopular in the media and among some political leaders.
The East enlargements are harming new candidate countries. Many representatives in Brussels and observers consider that the EU has not been strict enough with Romania and Bulgaria – what can be discussed. This general feeling has led the Commission to be more careful.
Euros in Slovakia, seeing a Polish market economy standing-up better than the German and British economies – which madman would have predicted such a reality back in 1989? Looking back along the road we have travelled with satisfaction doesn’t take us away from the road ahead.
But this enlargement remains a win-win deal. Western Europe has found new markets and work forces – let’s remember the brain drain from East to West. Eastern Europe has gained in investments, mobility and democratisation. The EU has stabilised and pacified its borders. It has avoided unfair competition and the law of the jungle at its edge. People are talking about “the cost of enlargement” but have they thought about “the cost of non-enlargement” in terms of the economy, social development, ecology, ethnic stability and democracy? East and West Europeans are better off, maybe not as much as expected; but twenty years ago, nobody could have imagined that one day a magazine would dedicate an article to this topic. Travelling to Slovenia without his passport, paying
© Polish National Tourist Office (Paris)
Except among the elites, enthusiasm for the 2004 and 2007 enlargements were a lukewarm enthusiasm. East Europeans like West Europeans were mutually fearful of this opening of the borders. So in comparison public opinion in Central and Eastern Europe is today globally more pro-European. A good example is the Polish rural community which was strongly opposed to EU adhesion and is in complete support now.
In 2005 the Polish Tourist Office launched a poster campaign to promote Poland as a holiday destination. It showed a handsome plumber spoofing French fears about an invasion of Polish plumbers: “I’m staying in Poland. Come…”
The man who shrank the world Watch out! The Little People are in the city… With his street art project, Slinkachu shows life in extra small in our extra-large world. Maybe he simply shows us human-size life. Slinkachu Profile Male United Kingdom 30 years’ old About “6 feet over” (5ft9) Inactive 1979-2006 Active 2006-
Spare Chair | Amsterdam, Holland 2009
Slinkachu on his project
“My 'Little People Project' started in 2006. It involves the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which I then place and leave on the street. It is both a street art installation project and a photography project. The street-based side of my work plays with the notion of surprise and I aim to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes I set up, more evident through the photography, and the titles I give these scenes aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. I want people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in my works.”
The High Life | Grottaglie, Italy 2009
The Spoils of War | Rotterdam, Holland 2009
Slinkachu on the web
Two websites that deserve a little visit: http://slinkachu.com/ http://little-people.blogspot.com/
Local Amenities For Children | London, UK 2008
The Den | Manchester, UK 2007
In 1988, on the eve of the democratic change in Europe, the European Parliament introduced the Sakharov Prize “for freedom of thought” in an effort to support and honour individuals and organisations that, often at huge risk, use non-violent means to defend democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide. 21 years ago, the first Sakharov Prize was awarded (jointly with Nelson Mandela) posthumously to Anatoli Marchenko, a Ukrainian-born labourer turned dissident and human rights activist in the Soviet Union. In 2009, the awarding of the Sakharov Prize to the Russian association, Memorial, reminds us of the extent to which the defence of human rights – past, present and future – remains a battle in Russia and, more generally, in the post-Soviet states.
OLEG ORLOV SERGEI KOVALEV LYUDMILA ALEXEYEVA on behalf of MEMORIAL and all other human rights defenders in Russia
Usain Bolt © PACE Sports Management
Damn he’s Jamaican! 1
Media like to highlight political aspects of sport. The Olympic Games in China in 2008 were the perfect example. Does it matter to you? I try to focus on my running.
Now that you are number one, everybody (fans, media, other sprinters, etc) is waiting for you everywhere. Which position is more exciting for you? The man to defeat or the man nobody bets on and who wins at the end… At the moment I am the man to beat and I am enjoying it.
In the past, many retired sportswomen and men have come back or tried to do so, but with varying success. What is your opinion? Is it good for sport or only for newspaper sales and by-product sales? I guess these people were under pressure to come back and try again. It is an individual decision, for some it is good, but for others it may be best to be remembered at the top level.
Is it harder to break records in a context of doping and constant suspicion of athletes? It doesn’t matter to me. I am running clean.
Everybody is now talking about human limits when it comes to breaking running records. One thousandth of a second can turn a sprinter into “the greatest”, but don’t you think that it reveals a new way of thinking about sport? What about you? Do you run against only your watch? Quite the opposite. I don’t chase times. I try to win races.
What do you think about when you’re running the 100 meters? Could we say that those 9.58 seconds are sometimes longer than one hour in daily life? 9.58 seconds is a short time – you don’t have time to think about much other than getting to the line first.
Sorry Europe but this time the European of the year is not one. Interview by Laurent VAN BRUSSEL
You said in an interview you couldn’t live outside Jamaica… I love living in Jamaica and plan to stay there all my life.
How would you like people to talk about you in 100 years? What would you like to leave to future generations? I would like to be a legend.
If you could be an animal for 9’’58 A fast one* If you had: 9’’58 to tell us the guy you are in your daily life The same one you see on track 9’’58 to explain the rules of cricket Score more runs than your opponents 9’’58 to describe what a lazy Sunday with Usain Bolt is like Chilling 9’’58 to relive a past moment of your life Leave the past in the past, the future in the future, and enjoy the present of the present… 9’’58 to spend with a famous person I have a long list – Angelina Jolie, Beyonce… 9’’58 left to live, what would be the last picture? My family 9’’58 to quote from somebody Enjoy life and have fun! 9’’58 left to make a wish for 2010 Enjoy life and have fun!
*Hint or not? Usain has just adopted the fastest animal on four legs, a cheetah. Its name: Lightning Bolt.
Berlin in 2009: city of extremes
A couple of days after Usain Bolt ran the fastest sprint of all time in Berlin, the Franco-German channel TV Arte broadcasted the longest documentary film in history: 24h Berlin. The film looks at one day and one night in the life of Berliners. It shows us how the reunified city keeps enriching itself based on its own diversity and contradictions, twenty years after the fall of the Wall.
24H Berlin in 24 figures
A budget of 2.8 million euro, 1 year of documentation research, 3 years to make the project possible, 80 film crews, 400 people involved, 40 students at 12 meeting points, 22 main characters, 50 characters in minor roles, 80 HD XDCAM movie cameras, 210 32-GB memory cards, 10 months of editing with 4 film editors and 4 assistants in 4 film editing studios, 15 computers, 10 people to download rushes, 10 crews in charge of spotting, 88 cars, 400 meal boxes, 5 caterers, 750 hours of highresolution rushes, 1440 minutes of continuous broadcasting, 160 million potential viewers.
In 2009 Usain Bolt run 150 meters on the streets of Manchester in less than 15 seconds, won in Ostrava, Lausanne, Paris, Brussels, Zurich and Thessalonica, beat his own 100 meters record in Berlin exactly one year to the day after the previous record, set the 200 meters record mark under 20 seconds the same week, rebuffed French National Center of Scientific Research experts on human limits – compelling them to move from practice to theory, taught Cristiano Ronaldo and finally was named IAAF world athletes of the year.
Alexander Platz (Berlin)
Our hands bear traces of the past. If they could talk, what stories would they tell? Perhaps something along the lines of Red Hands (Røde hænder), but without the inimitable style of Jens Christian Grøndahl.
of Jens Christian Grøndahl
© Frédéric HAYOT | Jérôme URBAIN
By Marie-France Locus
Venice Biennale 2009
Making Worlds By Ann Macpherson With its spider web-like installations, octopusesque Buddha hands, corpses floating in pools, smashed mirrors and menacing flower gardens, you would be forgiven for thinking that this year’s Biennale was particularly macabre, reflecting perhaps a sign of the times. But this would be to forget the uplifting works that made up for the darker pieces - the enchantment of Lygia Pape’s heavenly rays, the playfulness of Tobias Rehberger’s zebra bar, the captivating lightwork from Ivan Navarro and Pascale Marthine Tayou's lively African village. These were just some of the highlights at the labyrinthine artist extravaganza that
was this year’s Venice Biennale. Not for the exercise-shy, this the 53rd Biennale offered art fiends the possibility to visit 77 national pavilions, mull over the work of 90-odd artists and test orientation by navigating Venice’s exquisite maze of streets and canals to discover the 44 side events dotted about the city. Curated by Sweden’s Daniel Birnbaum in little over a year, the main exhibition was hosted in the Giardini and the Arsenale under the theme ‘Making Words’. “The exhibition was driven by an aspiration to examine the worlds around us as well as
the worlds ahead”, explains Birnbaum, the Biennale’s youngest director yet. Disorient in the Dutch pavilion carried us off to foreign lands. A voice narrated Marco Polo's travels with original sevencentury-old descriptions set to a backdrop of present-day scenes. The artist Fiona Tan muses, “the lack of comprehension of other cultures and societies, the reluctance to engage with and to learn about other customs and other religions is just as pertinent and tragic today as it was seven hundred years ago.”
Why be affected by the bitterness and heavy remorse of a fictional character? When closing Jens Christian Grøndahl’s book, a feeling of deliverance mixes with the unease of the characters seeking out their place in the present. The story begins in 1977. A seemingly banal adventure: the narrator, a student working at the ticket office of Copenhagen’s central train station crosses paths with a young girl returning from Germany, Randi. Except that Randi is actually called Sonja. Her suitcase, a plastic bag full of banknotes. And after providing her somewhere to stay for a couple of nights, the young stranger disappears, leaving behind a baggage locker key from the station for him. Far from filling
the void and making up for her absence, it opens the door to doubts and questions. 15 years later, he meets her again by chance. Intrigued, almost drawn by Sonja’s challenge-tinged solitude, he approaches her. She boldly reveals all to the man she once met at a defining time in her life. At 22 years of age, after a brief period working as an au pair in Germany, Sonja meets Thorwald, an older, secretive man, actively involved in a small far left group. Working alongside him, sometimes going against her own wishes, she takes part in activities she knows are dangerous, without however really knowing what she is involved in. It is only later that
she fully understands the scale of her actions and decides to face up to her own responsibility. Little dialogue. Much sobriety. The direct, plain writing of Grøndahl brings surprise to the reading of this novel. It’s a work that has the reader expecting a revelation, yet doesn’t fully meet this expectation with any hard, astonishing truth. An obscure book and yet so true, sad but sweet, which takes us back to our own disillusions and the mistakes of youth we never made. So, could I, lost and with little going on, consumed by the existential questions of the young adult, also have had red hands?
Red Hands, the 7th translated book from Jens Christian Grøndahl, is the 20th in a series that began in 1985 with Kvinden i midten. Since then, several great works such as Indian Summer (1994), Silence in October (1996), Hjertelyd (1999) or Piazza Bucarest (2004) have brought him international renown, earning him the nickname “Danish Modiano”. His favourite themes are: realism, love and relationships in modern couples. Author of short stories, essays and plays, he has also managed several periodicals. Born 9 November 1959, in LyngbyTaarbæk (Copenhagen), Jens Christian Grøndahl graduated in philosophy and film studies.
We visit the world created by Elmgreen and Dragset in the Nordic pavilion - a swanky LA-style bachelor pad with obscure collections of Weimar porcelain, used swimwear and flies. Outside the pavilion, mysterious ‘Mr B’ (the collector) having led a promiscuous life lies inert, face down in his swimming pool. Meanwhile in the main pavilion of the Giardini, people entangle themselves in Saraceno's humongous
spider's web and stand captivated by Hans-Peter Feldman's phantasmagorical display of distorted shadows. Across a few canals, in the Arsenale’s seemingly endless building, we are struck by the unearthly beauty of the late Brazilian artist Lygia Pape’s sculptural installation. Warmly lit gold metallic threads stretch from ceiling to floor giving an overall effect of divine sunbeams piercing the darkness. We weren’t the only ones to make the most of this visual feast, a recordbreaking 375 702 visitors toured the Giardini and Arsenale during its 24 weeks running time. And, while this year’s Biennale closed its doors on 22 November, the nature of the show means that we and many others can eagerly await to do it all again in 2011.
© Nicolas VINCENT
Further along we enter the French pavilion, resembling something akin to a disco jail with silver sparkling walls behind bars and billowing black flags. The piece makes us think twice about France’s indomitable spirit for revolution. Claude Lévêque has placed his silk black flags behind bars and their billowing is barely kept alive by the fans that accompany them.
Andnow...? Spring 2010 Issue: European Idols
© SHIFTMag • 2009 Avenue de Tervueren 270 1150 Brussels – Belgium www.shiftmag.eu Publisher: Juan ARCAS • email@example.com
Vladimir Bereanu, unless you are Bulgarian, is a name that probably means nothing to you. And yet… this TV journalist is an historic figure in Bulgaria and should be considered as one for Europe. He is the man who made the end of Communist rule a reality for Bulgarians in December 1989. For 50 hours live he recounted what was happening in Romania – the overthrow of Ceauşescu - to the world. Like him, many artists, sportsmen and intellectuals are “big-names” in their own country but totally ignored elsewhere. Conversely, some are “super stars” abroad and unknown at home. SHIFT Mag is taking up the challenge to unlock national public areas and introduce you to its “European Idols”.
Editor in chief: Laurent VAN BRUSSEL • T. +32 2 235 56 19 • firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor: David MARQUIE • T. +32 2 235 56 41 • email@example.com Editors: Frédéric DARMUZEY (France), Juliane GAU (Germany), Marie-France LOCUS (Belgium), Florence ORTMANS (Belgium) Contributors to this issue: Nathalie BRACK (Belgium), James CLIVE-MATTHEWS (UK), Jean-Arnault DERENS (France), Jean-Michel DE WAELE (Belgium), Pierre HASKI (France), Fyodor LOUKIANOV (Russia), Ann MACPHERSON (UK), Louis MICHEL (Belgium), Anette NOVAK (SWEDEN), Slinkachu (UK), Nicolas VINCENT (France), Jon WORTH (UK) Illustrators: Frédéric HAYOT (Belgium), João SILVA (Portugal), François TACOEN (Belgium), Roberto TRIOSCHI (Italy) Special thanks to Hélène Saint-Remi for the magazine’s circulation follow-up, Kevin Birdseye, Mark Humphreys and David Bywell for linguistic proofreading, Brieuc Hubin for the fresh-looking layout. Production & coordination: Brieuc HUBIN • firstname.lastname@example.org Benoît GOOSSENS • email@example.com Administration & subscription: firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Graphics: Tipik Studio Printed by: Manufast-ABP, Brussels. To advertise in SHIFT Mag contact: Jerôme URBAIN (Tipik Communication) • T.+32 2 235 56 64 • email@example.com Bruno BONTE (Publicitas NV) • T. +32 2 639 84 36 • firstname.lastname@example.org Tipik Communication – A SWORD Group Company Free quarterly publication (cannot be sold). Published by Tipik Communication. Reproduction in any form is prohibited without prior consent. The views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent those of SHIFTMag.
20 years after in Poland
Have your say
As everyone knows, the fall of the Berlin Wall took place 20 years ago. To mark this occasion, a group of Polish students visited the “Institute for European Studies” in Brussels last November to relate their personal experiences and express their opinions on the changes that Poland has experienced since 1989. These students of European Studies were born at the very beginning of the change, 20 years ago.
A gender-balanced Commission… o
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