Friday 6 August 2010

Euroblog: The Taurillon family resurrected (Twitter tag #bkaeb)

About a week ago I wondered where Le Taurillon and its sibling publications had disappeared without any notice I had seen. The blog post did not draw any official response from the editors, who may think that actions speak louder than words.

Without further discussion about the art of public relations, let us rejoice that Le Taurillon, magazine eurocitoyen, has made its (equally unexplained, it seems) reappearance, and that subscribers are receiving new articles.

We notice the “black hole” clearly, and the ezines have mainly filled gaps left during the offline period, but it is a good start.

Earlier I made the mistake to speak about sister publications, but some of the names are quite bullish, so let us switch to the gender neutral “sibling”.

In the Greek myth, Europa was very much a woman, who was abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull.

Le Taurillon

Le Taurillon is the French version, and it seems to be the hub of the publishing activities.

Sébastien Antoine has written latest articles published, about the role of European mega-cities and EU urban policies in the era of globalisation: La région métropolitéenne européenne : quelle cohésion dans quelle globalisation ? 1/2 and 2/2.

Pierre Bonifassi argues how the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) recognises the Kosovo declaration of independence, but the political dependence of Kosovo remains.

Bonifassi’s blog post was published 4 August 2010, but the offline period due to technical problems means that we have to go back to 8 July to find the previous entry, an interview with Catherine Soullie MEP on EU security and defence policies.

The New Federalist

The New Federalist (Webzine of the Young European Federalists) has returned online with an English translation of an article where Pascal Malosse argues for a European response to the German decision to ban bare sales.

In the previous entry, published about two weeks earlier, Malossi argued why the European Council conclusions of 17 June 2010 on economic governance were a disappointment.


The Italian version is called Eurobull (La rivista che fa luce sull’Europa). It has made its comeback with a post written during the football World Cup. Giorgio Anselmi gave reasons for optimism with regard to European soccer teams and the future of European political integration.

For the previous entry we have to go back to 14 July 2010, when Federica Martiny called for a democratic European Union, in the footsteps of Altiero Spinelli and the Crocodile Club.

Treffpunkt Europa

The German version is called Treffpunkt Europa. On the Taurillon website you can access articles published until 16 July 2010, although a spate of them just appeared in my reader.

However, the new Treffpunkt Europa website I mentioned earlier seems to have disappeared, including the posts published there. Perhaps some PR minded soul could clarify(?)

Young European Federalists (JEF)

Le Taurillon, The New Federalist, Eurobull and Treffpunkt Europa have more in common than a website, namely the JEF.

There is a short Wikipedia entry on the Young European Federalists (JEF, French Jeunes Européens fédéralistes, German Junge Europäische Föderalisten, Italian Gioventù Federalista Europea, Czech Mladí evropští federalisté etc.), the umbrella organisation of 35 national sections.

The different language versions of the ezine are similar, but not identical. Young writers publish an article (in their own language), and volunteer translators help to spread the contents to one or more of the other language versions.

Thus, Le Taurillon and its siblings form a collective or network, which manages to cross linguistic and national borders. They are an important part of the emerging online European public space, with discussion ranging from the fundamentals of European integration to quite technical posts on diverse EU policy issues.

#bkaeb Twitter tag

The Twitter tag #bkaeb stands for Better Know A EuroBlog, and it is meant for blog posts recommending a certain Euroblog to potential readers. The new tag has been described as a #followfriday (or #ff) for blogs related to EU affairs.

Despite holiday season for the EU institutions, the real world and the online world do not aestivate (pass the summer in a state of torpor). For the Better Know A EuroBlog August 2010 challenge I decided to endorse blogs listed on and active during the last week (stream of new posts). In addition to the objective criteria, I narrowed down the potential endorsements to Euroblogs I follow (a changing list).

On, Le Taurillon (multilingual, although listed only as French) and The New Federalist (multilingual, although listed only as English) are listed in the category Civil society / NGOs. They are recorded as having published four entries each during the last seven days, but in fact they are the same posts (the same multilingual stream). readers voted for their favourite Euroblogs during the “time of troubles” over at Le Taurillon (The New Federalist and Eurobull), so the only active blog in the network was Treffpunkt Europa with two substantive articles and two technical announcements to its immediate credit. As the only available representative of the herd of young bulls, Treffpunkt Europa was voted the second most popular Euroblog among the thirty nominations.

The French and the German versions are listed on the Collective page of the Netvibes collection of Euroblogs made by the public affairs consultancy Fleishman-Hillard Brussels. However, at this moment both links lead to the same Le Taurillon page in French, where the English, German and Italian versions are a further click away.

In my subjective view, the Taurillon family would rank among the top ten (must read) Euroblogs (although you can discuss different types of online or social media: blogs, ezines, emagazines...).

The Taurillon family is well worth the #bkaeb seal of approval, intended to serve as a recognition and an inspiration. Hopefully getting back into full production mode after the offline spell, the JEF volunteers produce quality writing giving valuable input on various aspects of European integration and EU policies. The translators help to produce localised content on common European themes, contributing to the online public space in four major European languages: English, French, German and Italian.

Only the JEF 35 years age limit prevents the Taurillon group from being the pan-European blog some have called for, if it does not require a firm anti-federalist component.

The Taurillon family and other Euroblogs offer an enjoyable way to learn foreign languages while getting to know more about issues important for our common future.

Welcome back online!

I wish Le Taurillon, The New Federalist, Eurobull and Treffpunkt Europa the best for the future.

By the way, has grown to 642 Euroblogs listed.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. It is easier to understand a language than to use it correctly. As Eurobloggers we should promote interaction among Europeans across borders and between linguistic communities. Grahnlaw has adopted a multilingual comment policy:

I do my best to read comments in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish, even if the Grahnlaw blog and my possible replies are in English.


  1. Dear Ralf,

    in the board of JEF Germany I'm responsible for the content of treffpunkt.europa (online and print). The blog that Martin Teubner set up during the downtime of the multilingual platform is currently hidden and the URL redirects to the multilingual platform again. We will move the articles that have been written during the downtime asap.

    Our goal is of course to keep on working in the multilingual environment as this is the true asset of the site and shows the European approach of JEF.

    Also, we'll find a sustainable hosting solution soon so we won't have these inconveniences for our readers again in the future.

    Thanks for keeping an eye on our plattform :-)



  2. Thomas,

    Thank you for your comment, which clarifies the questions relating to Treffpunkt Europa (the German version).

    I agree with your point about the multilingual environment and networking - when it works.

    I do think that organisations, such as Le Taurillon, facing problems (technical or others) should think about their "customer relations" by using all means possible to inform the public and to reply to specific queries. (Cf airlines and Icelandic lava.)

  3. Hi,

    I'm Laurent Nicolas, editor in chief of the French version of Le Taurillon.

    Thanks for this post and the laudatory comments on our websites that you very accurately name as a "family".

    You said pretty much all that needed to be said about us. But some explanations on why we went down, and why we are back.

    We were hosted by the French company OVH ( on a shared server. Some scripts and code-lines had bugs and made the websites too demanding in CPU and broadband. So we have been put offline by OVH.

    It took us some time to react because we do Le Taurillon besides our jobs and further European activism involvement. And it took us time to find the proper server solution, regarding the costs and our needs. So we finally managed to find a proper hosting solution : we are still at OVH —not that we are especially happy with that— on a dedicated server, and it should be stable and working faster now.

    FYI, facts and figures :

    - the 4 websites combined reach, between september and june, an average of 3.000 unique visitors /day (google analytics).
    - As we speak, the French edition runs about 70% of the total trafic as it was launched first in 2005, in the following of the Constitutional treaty referendum campaign that has seen the pro-no's very active on the internet, whereas the federalist debate was just not there.
    - each linguistic version is independant and relies on a national section of the Young Federalist (, except from the English version which is directly run by the Young Federalist European team.
    - our pictures are mostly from Flickr, or the EU audiovisual libraries, in creativeCommons
    - 99% of our articles are published under creativeCommons
    - the websites are managed by the SPIP ContentManagementSystem (CMS).

    contact :
    - for the French editorial board
    - for the common editorial teams

    Twitter => @taurillon

    Facebook =>

  4. Laurent,

    Thank you for your informative comment, much obliged.

    I am aware that you work on a volunteer basis (chapeau !), but what I have tried to garden is the insight that their is always a challenge of communication when there is a breakdown (in substance).

  5. Dear Ralf,

    Thanks a lot for watching our website(s) that carefully. It is really appreciated to have such attentive readers as you!

    I will not elaborate on the situation we were facing during the last weeks, as Thomas and Laurent have already given a lot of information. I do completely agree with you that “there is always a challenge of communication when there is a breakdown” and maybe we underestimated the problems that might occur due to this situation from a communications perspective.

    As the other language versions we from tried to keep our fans and followers updated via facebook (thenewfederalist) and twitter (tnf_webzine), but maybe we were doing this not offensive enough. I sincerely apologize for the lack of information that you felt and I am sure that all of us learned for future occasions (which hopefully will not include a week-long breakdown again).

    Pia Menning
    Communications officer,

  6. Pia,

    The importance of the Taurillon family in the Euroblogosphere and the good news that it has reappered and is getting back to cruising speed were the main messages of the #bkaeb blog post.

    I share your hope that no new crises hit the Taurillon, but hopefully the blog entry can inspire some organisations to think about how to act when problems occur.

    By the way, one theme communities such as the Taurillon (JEF), Eurotribune and Cafe Babel could think about would be connecting to and interacting with other parts of the Euroblogosphere.


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