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About this blog

Mark Mardell | 08:30 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2007

For the past two years I've been the BBC's Europe editor, covering the politics of Europe and the European Union from chemical directives to the future of Kosovo, from the argument about headscarves in Turkey to climate change in Spanish vineyards.

It's a huge patch so don't expect this blog to be comprehensive but I hope over time it will touch on all the really big subjects of importance.

Europe is at a crossroads, uncertain about its future direction economically culturally and politically. Politicians and people are even unsure about its boundaries. How Britain sees its relationship with the EU is central to this.

Although I have been writing an internet diary every Thursday since I began this job I'm new to blogging. Frankly, after a trip to a new place to cover a new story I think that you and I gain more from allowing me some pause for reflection before reaching for the keyboard. I still think that, and will try to keep up a regular column published on Thursday mornings. But this format allows me to add to that on a daily basis.

It's particularly important right now, with moves to design a new European treaty really hotting up.

Just one other thing I will highlight. In an effort to understand the complex way the European Union makes laws I have set myself the task of following proposals to curb CO2 emissions in cars until they become law (or until I change jobs or keel over, whichever is the sooner). It's an important story, which will affect how and what we all drive, and I hope to cover it in more detail than any other medium can provide.

A final thought. Without being ever so 'umble, if you are a British TV licence-fee payer, you pay my wages. I respect and value your opinion and take seriously thoughts, complaints and suggestions. And if you are from outside the UK, I still love to hear from you. Over the past two years I have been impressed with the thoughtful, intelligent and informed level of debate the diary has provoked. I hope we can keep that up with the added spice of dialogue in this blog.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:09 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • Graham from London UK wrote:

I have always enjoyed your column and am delighted to see its supplementation by a blog - EU issues are appallingly undercovered (and mis-reported when they are) in this country and the more serious and informed analysis eg on the role of the Parliament such as your pieces on the new directive on CO2 emissions we can get the better - so please blog away - I for one will be reading it

  • 2.
  • At 04:48 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • simon wrote:

Quite pertinent, your analysis, it seems, but I can never understand why you British are always so anti-europe on all subjects bar, maybe, unfetterred commerce. (From UK to the rest of europe, I mean) You got everything you wanted out of EU and yet tou do not miss an occasion to bash it. Politicians in other countries have started to realize coming back from any euro meeting saying that you have defended your constituency against EU results in paralizing you when you want to be part of a EU thing you like. Look at the French and Dutch: any referendum is always a vote for or against the government: De Gaulle left on a decentralization project that was materialized after his departure. The Dutch were incensed by the laxism of their left handed gov. Chirac was as incensed than Hollande about the NO.
But the electorate never miss an opportunity to say it is unsatisfied.
Don't taunt it. Just like you say, why a referendum? These questions are too complex to be discussed with the man in the street. Economists ,industrialists, politicians, are more apt to take decisions because they shall be faced with the consequences. But please tell us for once something good about EU :it's the future of my granchildren you are playing with.

  • 3.
  • At 12:58 AM on 24 Jun 2007,
  • Steven wrote:

just readin through your summit reports - really interesting. a fantastic blog!

  • 4.
  • At 08:48 PM on 31 Jul 2007,
  • Todd Edelman wrote:

Hi, here's an idea for you...

Forests are burning in four or five EU countries, yet we need Russia to help fight the fires (in Greece). Their help is appreciated, but how about discussing the creation of a EU Rapid Reaction Disaster Force, which would do things like fight fires and safe people in earthquakes?

In the larger scope, it could be a model for a Global Rapid Reaction Force, which would ideally be done by converted military vehicles and equipment and of course human resources.

  • 5.
  • At 10:22 AM on 29 Aug 2007,
  • christos wrote:

instead of calling yourself mark as europe's editor, why don't you change it to Turkey's editor? you seem so interested in this area every fourth word you write possibly six or seven Turkey is included... fires are destroying Europe and the mediterranean and all you care is about Turkish tomatoes and coffee wow! Now that's what I call priority. I feel very strongly about this and I've written to you many times complaining about this turcophilia however my comments have never appeared, I guess it's called selective comments that means selecting comments you feel they tend to agree with you.

  • 6.
  • At 08:44 AM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Dave Hailstone wrote:

Hello there,

Your concerns over Gazprom may well be correct. However maybe we mainland Europeans really do have a benifit of dealing with this monolothic giant. A direct gas line to Germany is a must. No matter what Uncle Sam thinks or wishes otherwise. No chance for that pipeline to be switched of by another country either.

Maybe the USA refining monoplies should be of higher concern in the West then our fuel can become cheaper.

  • 7.
  • At 09:36 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Simon Clark wrote:

I believe that matters which may seem complicated are often very simple when the fuss and froth is stripped away. You just need to step back and look at the basic issues. The fundamental disagreement about the EU is whether we want to make decisions that affect our nation solo or as a committee. If we go down the committee route there is no turning back. The history of the EU is one of ever-closer integration. This is a process that will never stop, and every treaty that is signed takes the country further down this route. Enough eminent people have stated that the current treaty is fundamentally the constitution to convince me this is the case. I believe the government is being dishonent about this and it is a stance unworthy of them. Supporters of the treaty use the same tactic all the time - they say that not to agree with the treaty means you are against the EU. This is blatant twisting of the position. If the treaty is so good for us, convince us of it and for once leave the spin out of it.

  • 8.
  • At 09:42 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Simon Clark wrote:

I believe that matters which may seem complicated are often very simple when the fuss and froth is stripped away. You just need to step back and look at the basic issues. The fundamental disagreement about the EU is whether we want to make decisions that affect our nation solo or as a committee. If we go down the committee route there is no turning back. The history of the EU is one of ever-closer integration. This is a process that will never stop, and every treaty that is signed takes the country further down this route. Enough eminent people have stated that the current treaty is fundamentally the constitution to convince me this is the case. I believe the government is being dishonent about this and it is a stance unworthy of them. Supporters of the treaty use the same tactic all the time - they say that not to agree with the treaty means you are against the EU. This is blatant twisting of the position. If the treaty is so good for us, convince us of it and for once leave the spin out of it.

  • 9.
  • At 10:57 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • John Fragk wrote:

ONLY ONE COMMENT 'NOT EXIST MACEDONIA AS COUNTRY'.
MACEDONIA IS 'ONLY' THE NORTH PART OF GREECE, AND YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT
WHATEVER THE SCOPIANS SAID.THE NAME OF THIS SMALL PART OF EX-YOGOSLAVIA ARE 'FYROM'.

  • 10.
  • At 01:42 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

Re FYROM. The proper name of Greece is FAMA (Former Appendage of MAcedonia).

  • 11.
  • At 12:06 AM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Maggi Stephenson wrote:


Keep on keeping on Mark Mardell !

  • 12.
  • At 08:41 AM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

"Your concerns over Gazprom may well be correct. However maybe we mainland Europeans really do have a benifit of dealing with this monolothic giant. A direct gas line to Germany is a must. No matter what Uncle Sam thinks or wishes otherwise. No chance for that pipeline to be switched of by another country either." [#6]


Well, costs of feeding that Baltic albatros (if you get my drfit) have already jumped by 400%. And that before construction of the pipeline from Finnish [sic] Vyborg has even started.

Nope, no country'll have to switch this gismo off; it's going to sit over unexploded German and Soviet chemical shells. That in itself should do the trick.

And Uncle Sam will just look and smile knowingly.

["We've warned you comrades and Parteigenossen"]

  • 13.
  • At 12:38 PM on 17 Feb 2008,
  • David Randall wrote:

..Yes but what is Gordon Brown's position on Kosova and why?

David

  • 14.
  • At 01:18 AM on 19 Feb 2008,
  • Pasho wrote:

What was Kosovo's population before 13th century? Obviously that's when Serbia's history begins there.Does that means Albanians came there after 1349 ? Impression is before that time Kosovo was a wast,plain vacuum where Serbs descended one day for a battle and never left.It would be helpful to know which ethnic population used to live there before the "heart of Serbia" began beatting.

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