Monday, 27 April 2009

eLibrary of EU law and politics: Grahnlaw

Grahnlaw blog post number 1,000 is a reason to take stock. Since April 2007 Grahnlaw has grown into a small electronic library of EU law and politics.

Educational purpose

The main purpose of Grahnlaw is to provide education for citizens and businesses.



In the beginning, I looked at the United States Constitution, the European Court of Human Rights and at deciding moments in the history of European integration. Later, current EU politics and the Reform Treaty of the European Union became the main themes.


EU law

When the Council decided not to publish a readable, consolidated version of the Treaty of Lisbon, I started looking for ‘private’ consolidations of and materials on the new treaties, as well as campaigning for the publication of official consolidated versions in all the EU treaty languages.

I also began to present my own consolidated treaty texts, Article by Article. The Treaty on European Union (TEU) has been treated (more or less in full). The Council belatedly decided to publish the new treaties in a consolidated version

Some of the TEU posts have been revisited, and there are by now blog posts on about two thirds of the Articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Before the current detour viewing the special legislative procedures, we were among the institutional TFEU provisions of the Lisbon Treaty dealing with the Council.


EU politics

The treaty posts have been interspersed with discussion about EU politics, especially questions about democratic legitimacy and accountability. The negative result in the Irish referendum led to long exchanges about the future of the European Union. There have been a number of posts on the parliamentary ratification processes in member states, but the Lisbon Treaty saga is still unfinished.

Ahead of the European elections in June 2009, there have been posts on legal and political aspects of EU level democracy and its imperfections.

Both legal and political posts try to be factually correct and to offer materials and references for interested readers. I am grateful for discussion, as well as remarks on possible mistakes.

The blog’s motto “for a democratic European Union” means that Grahnlaw is not ideologically neutral. The general interest and an EU citizen’s perspective form the basis for observations, to the extent possible.

This does not exclude articles from or about individual countries (my own included), but I write independently from member states and the EU institutions.


Business interests

Novel themes have appeared, below the treaty level. Exploration of the practical side of the European Union (European Community) is ongoing.

I have noticed that the internal market (single market) including public procurement and competition including state aid, as well as enterprise policies (SMEs), are of interest to businesses, governments and other legal practitioners within and outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

EU residents are interested in their rights under Community legislation.



Long tail

I have noticed that many readers arrive as a result of web searches. The blog posts have a long tail. Newer posts may attract more readers, but on a single day, readers may access perhaps two hundred different blog posts.

Sometimes the tail is even too long. The search engine may have suggested an outdated entry, when there are several newer and more relevant posts on the subject. At times, using the search options within the blog or looking at the contents or headlines of newer posts might lead to fresher information.



This virtual EU library appreciates comments, as well as hints about books and publications on EU law and politics. I have added a number of blogs and web sites to my blog roll, but suggestions are welcome.

Blogging is one reason to follow what other Euroblogs write. and other aggregators are a great help to keep track of discussions.

Sadly, after receiving too much dubious spam “comments”, I felt that I had to start monitoring comments before they appear. Spam submissions have practically disappeared, but comments have to wait for approval.

Writing about EU law and politics has been a passion of mine for a number of years. Some of my earlier contributions on EU themes can still be found in Swedish and Finnish on various forums and my other blogs (although some materials have disappeared).

Starting a blog in English was a way to join the Euroblogosphere and to contribute to a European public sphere. After two years, I feel that Grahnlaw in English serves this purpose.

About three quarters of the readers come from Europe and about one in five from North America, which leaves a readership of perhaps five percent from the rest of the world.


Why Euroblogging?

The educational motive is not one-sided. As a writer and ‘e-librarian’, I can hope to educate my readers, but I certainly educate myself.

Teaching is said to be the best way to learn. Writing is but a form of teaching.

In addition to possible altruistic motives, there are selfish and practical ones: Blogging provides the discipline to prepare for speaking engagements, teaching stints and providing advice for clients.

Last, but not least, I enjoy writing.



Writing and posting is a process, and the priorities shift over time. At this moment, I see three areas or categories for future posts:

1) Lisbon Treaty (the treaties): Fairly soon a return to the systematic presentation of the Treaty of Lisbon (and the existing provisions). The treaty may enter into force, but if it does not, it is still going to remain the point of reference for discussions about EU Law for some time. (Despite its shortcomings, the Lisbon Treaty is better and more readable than the existing treaties.)

2) EU business and citizens: Highlighting the existence or some general aspects of new legislation and developments concerning businesses and individuals in cross-border situations.

3) EU politics: Facts and opinions with regard to EU citizenship and democratic principles at EU level.

Comments on the blog and the individual posts are welcome, although the blog is not a medium for offering legal advice.

Ralf Grahn