In this week’s press review, Youropa looks at Europe’s role in the US presidential election, at Russian bloggers and on the (lack of) EU spending on culture. The best articles on Europe selected by Youropa’s editors.


Russia’s blogosphere diversifies

Global Voices is running the project RuNet Echo to expand and deepen the understanding of the Russian language internet medias. In a recent article, the rise of blogging in Russia is investigated.

About 200 Russian bloggers met at the end of October in Moscow at the “UnForum”— an informal blogging conference organised by the Russian International News Agency (RIA). The fact that the state-owned news agency is attempting to actively engage new media is interesting in its own right, but “other aspects of the conference were even more intriguing,” writes Global Voices’ Andrey Tselikov.

Many of the participating bloggers had come from distant regions in Russia pointing to a diversification of the Russian blogosphere and media platform, while Moscow and St. Petersburg had been dominating the scene.

“In essence RIA is starting to actively expand into the regions, they need, as they say “people on the ground. Where do they begin? […] The obvious answer is bloggers,” said a blogger from the Altai region near the border to Mongolia.

The blogging conference embraced these issues. But it also set the scene of a minor scandal as, in the background, tweets with the conference’s hashtags were displayed live. As the Minister of Communications read out loud a greeting from Prime Minister Medvedev, someone tweeted: “#neforum fuck off with your Medvedev!”

Culture in Europe

EUobserver takes a look at the EU’s cultural sector in a new series of articles. Culture is facing a crisis in Europe: less than half of all EU citizens spend money on culture. And yet the sector has a significant impact and employs millions of citizens.

Europe is a cultural hub, writes the EUobserver in their new series on culture. Not only does Europe harbour more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other region in the world, it also exports 50 per cent more cultural goods than it imports. But only half of the all EU citizens spend money on cultural activities, writes the EUobserver in its recent article.

“We are currently facing one of the biggest cultural crises that the modern, Western socio-economic model has ever been through,” says Culture Action Europe, a network of European culture organisations.

The cultural sector in the EU employs about 1.7 per cent of the workforce. On average, EU citizens spend around four per cent of their budget on culture – from movies and music to theatre and art.

The European Union today spends about €170 million per year on subsidising arts – about 0.1 per cent of its total budget. That is likely to become even smaller, warns the EUobserver in another article in their culture series.

Europe and the US presidential election

Frankfurter Allgemeine writes that Obama would get more than 80 per cent of the votes, if Europeans could decide. But Europe has only played a role in one aspect of the American elections: the economy, stupid.

Obama was afraid that Greece could shake the financial markets all the way to Wall Street, writes Frankfurter Allgemeine.

A financial earthquake in Greece could cause a tsunami on the financial markets on the East Coast. Luckily, the EU took this into consideration and decided that the troika report to Athens will not be presented until after the presidential election.

The time when American presidents split their sympathy between different European nations are long gone. Both Obama and Romney want the old world to take on more responsibilities for themselves and for their neighbours in the Mediterranean – but more importantly also for the stability of the global financial system. Because Obama and Romney agree, Europe has played no part in their debates.

The United States have lost their appetite to take care of all the problems in the world. So now, Europe might opt to up their game. “Europe needs to grow in the coming years. It has to fill the vacuum that leaves a weaker superpower,” the Frankfurter Allgemeine adds.