Friday

30th Sep 2016

Communications commissioner turns to blogging

The European Commissioner for communications put on weight over the Christmas holidays. She is also a fan of Fado - a schmaltzy type of music originating from Portugal - and thought that 2004 "sucked".

Too much information already? Or are you intrigued by the daily thoughts of Margot Wallström, charged with one of the most difficult jobs in the Commission, bringing Brussels closer to EU citizens?

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Whatever the answer, that's not going to be the last of it.

Mrs Wallström has discovered blogging - the keeping of an online diary.

From Friday (14 January) onwards, the Swedish Commissioner's thoughts will be aired for all to see.

The online journal is to be updated two to three times a week and will contain some personal thoughts but don't expect any revealing political secrets or any dirt dished on other Commissioners.

The closest she gets, in her first entry for the blog, is to remark of former Commissioner Chris Patten that he used to say that two things are not necessary in life -eating cod and listening to Fado.

Jean-Claude Juncker is described as the "chain-smoking colourful" prime minister of Luxembourg.

She does admit that the much-heralded transparent councils, where EU ministers do their work in the open, just mean that everyone now meets instead for really long lunches to do any deals.

So all commissioners are likely to put on weight, she suggests.

Anyone following the Commissioner's blog can write in their thoughts, which will then be posted on the site.

The blog is supposed to reach people that 'Brussels' does not normally reach.

A Commission official said "it's a novel and effective way of communicating to people in normal language".

The Commissioner is just one in a long line of people who have taken to blogging.

It first started around the mid-1990s with people writing their thoughts and daily routines on line - blog is short for weblog.

Blogging is now much more mainstream with millions of blogs on the web.

Bloggers played a huge role during the recent tsunami disaster with eyewitnesses able to provide detailed accounts before journalists got to the scene.

Similarly, during the US election campaign, both the Republicans and the Democrats used blogs to get their message to grassroots supporters; and to find out what their grassroots supporters thought of them.

But although several politicians have blogs, often they are written by harassed press officers.

Mrs Wallström, however, is to write all of her own.

Analysis

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Faced with a difficult referendum campaign, the Italian prime minister is playing the antiestablishment card, including verbal attacks on the EU and Germany.

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