06. February 2013

Will frogs from Athens settle down also in Košice?

by Lukáš Fúčela

Lukas FucelaI couldn’t resist myself to write also some of my thoughts on the controversies connected with European Capital of Culture project in Košice (Slovakia) after reading latest Marta’s blog on this project in Marseille. The project of European Capital of Culture is well-known and also watched by general public in Slovakia for several months as it’s being held in the second biggest city which is a “metropolis” of the whole Eastern part of the country. Taking into account that Eastern part of Slovakia is one of the poorest region of the EU (GDP per capita of this NUTS 2 region was 49% of the EU average in the year 2009) it is, or it’s better to say it was an opportunity how to boost this city and whole region at the times of crisis.

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04. February 2013

20 Years After Maastricht – Let’s Talk About Citizenship

by Kati Temonen

kati-temonen-modified2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the European Union Citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty and hence the theme for the “European Year” 2013 is rather an unsurprising choice, also in the perspective of the upcoming parliamentary elections. It is believed that the direct involvement of citizens in the decision-making would make the Union stronger and more political. In the words of José Manuel Barroso, “there must be a broad debate all over Europe, […] a debate of truly European dimension. We cannot continue trying to solve European problems just with national solutions. This debate has to take place in our societies and among our citizens.”1

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03. February 2013

How about spicing your Sunday lunch with some stories from the Balkans?

by Irma Zulic
8-irma-zulicToday, I offer you several different spices and seasoning. I guarantee that it won’t come heavy to your stomach. It’s not a light salad but a usual Balkan meal: some soup, meat, vegetables and a dessert.

If you are thinking: “Oh, will this be again one of those touristic invitations in order for us, Europeans, to bring some money to these countries whose budgets are constantly drowning in debts?”, please keep reading: it’s not that kind of text :D
These are in fact four short stories about regional collaboration, borders, visas, official letters (therefore about politics and EU integration as well), ECHR Judgment and about a TV singing show.

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31. January 2013

European Capital of Culture: an award to foster understanding or to attract tourists?

by Marta Remacha

marta-remacha-recio-modifiedDo you know which cities have been chosen this year as “European Capitals of Culture”? If you do a quick search on Google you will find that they are: Marseille(France) and Košice (Slovakia). Maybe you have never heard about this “title” but here in France I have only heard people talking about Marseille for the last two weeks or so. Having done a bit more research on this initiative I discovered that in theory it was set up to “highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures”, “celebrate the cultural ties that link Europeans together”, “bring people from different European countries into contact with each other’s culture and promote mutual understanding” and “foster a feeling of European citizenship”. But in fact, what first came to my mind was that it was an award just to attract tourists.

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28. January 2013

World cities and citizens of the world

by Juliane Sarnes

juliane-sarnes-2012-2013-modifiedXenophobia in the Microcosm of Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg – A comment on the „Swabian Invasion”

Yesterday, the Vice President of the Bundestag procured me with a really awkward moment. Living in the UK, I had not expected to be confronted with curious questions about the “Swabian Invasion of Berlin.” I left Germany a couple of years ago, following the classical pattern of going abroad for higher education and staying there for love. Whenever I mention my hometown in London people react with enthusiasm. Berlin is perceived as cool and interesting, an upcoming world city. But the anti-Swabian movement in the very trendy Prenzlauer Berg district fits in none of these categories!

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