Mapping Stereotypes

Alphadesigner extremely interesting web by Yanko Tsvetkov, freelance graphic designer and a visual artist from Bulgaria. Mapping Stereotypes Project is one of the projects conducted for him.

There is Europe and there is another Europe of stereotypes. Yanko Tsvetkov has mapped some of the stereotypes that have always pervaded the Old World. Tsevtkov’s aim was to describe how the citizens of world see other countries and what was an experiment is now a runaway success with more than half a billion visitors logging on to the artist’s Mapping Stereotypes website to view the charts.

Here are some of the maps, for the rest visit the web.

Europe according to the Greeks

L’europa Berlusconiana

Europe according to the Vatican

Hitchhiker's Guide to The Arab Spring



New Greek Coin (I don't own this image)


In times of crisis humour is the best remedy. Enjoy amusing joke about EU (not mine) 🙂

European paradise: 
You are invited to an official lunch. You are welcomed by an Englishman. Food is prepared by a Frenchman and an Italian puts you in the mood and everything is organised by a German. 
European hell: 
You are invited to an official lunch. You are welcomed by a Frenchman. Food is prepared by an Englishman, German puts you in the mood but, don’t worry, everything is organised by an Italian. 
That joke was proposed by a Belgian as the Official European Joke, the joke that every single European pupil should learn at school. The Joke will improve the relationship between the nations as well as promote our self humour and our culture.
The European Council met in order to make a decision. Should the joke be the Official European Joke or not?
The British representative announced, with a very serious face and without moving his jaw, that the joke was absolutely hilarious.
The French one protested because France was depicted in a bad way in the joke. He explained that a joke cannot be funny if it is against France.
Poland also protested because they were not depicted in the joke.
Luxembourg asked who would hold the copyright on the joke. The Swedish representative didn’t say a word, but looked at everyone with a twisted smile.
Denmark asked where the explicit sexual reference was. If it is a joke, there should be one, shouldn’t there?
Holland didn’t get the joke, while Portugal didn’t understand what a “joke” was. Was it a new concept?
Spain explained that the joke is funny only if you know that the lunch was at 13h, which is normally breakfast time.
Greece complained that they were not aware of that lunch, that they missed an occasion to have some free food, that they were always forgotten.
 Romania then asked what a “lunch” was.
 Lithuania et Latvia complained that their translations were inverted, which is unacceptable even if it happens all the time.
 Slovenia told them that its own translation was completely forgotten and that they do not make a fuss.
 Slovakia announced that, unless the joke was about a little duck and a plumber, there was a mistake in their translation.
 The British representative said that the duck and plumber story seemed very funny too.
 Hungary had not finished reading the 120 pages of its own translation yet .
Then, the Belgian representative asked if the Belgian who proposed the joke was a Dutch speaking or a French speaking Belgian. Because, in one case, he would of course support a compatriot but, in the other case, he would have to refuse it, regardless of the quality of the joke.
 To close the meeting, the German representative announced that it was nice to have the debate here in Brussels but that, now, they all had to make the train to Strasbourg in order to take a decision. He asked that someone to wake up the Italian, so as not to miss the train, so they can come back to Brussels and announce the decision to the press before the end of the day .
 “What decision?” asked the Irish representative.
 And they all agreed it was time for some coffee.

EU to appoint high-level truth-teller

Breaking news from EUOBSERVER

EU Council President Herman Achille Van Rompuy has created a new high-level official in charge of puncturing the gloomy atmosphere at EU summits and telling annoying truths to leaders.

The post, for an Information Pasquination Officer, was advertised in the EU’s Official Journal on Friday (1 April) and comes with an annual salary of €1.6 million and a large blue hat with 12 saggy peaks, each topped with a golden star.

The advert says: “Candidates are expected to show vague awareness of EU institutions and European history, with 10 years’ experience of working in a neurotic environment and a post-graduate degree or equivalent from the University of Life.”

The successful applicant will: “form part of the cabinet of President Van Rompuy in a permanent advisory capacity and attend meetings of the European Council, tasked with bringing a dose of much-needed reality to the hypocritical posturing of normal procedure in line with Article 11 of the EU Treaty on safeguarding the integrity of EU internal and external policy.”

Other tasks include throwing custard pies at prime ministers whose economies require an EU-IMF bailout and sounding a klaxon whenever anybody uses the phrases “shared values” or “human rights” in reference to EU foreign policy.

In protocol terms, the new official will sit on President Van Rompuy’s shoulders in the EU summit ‘family photograph.’

He or she will also be required to scatter rose petals under the feet of central Asian gas dictators during their visits to the EU capital. (:D)

“Van Rompuy might not be a renaissance-era monarch, but he is a bit literary and he got the idea from the Shakespeare play King Lear, where the fool helps the king hold on to some shreds of sanity,” an EU official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the inanity.

“We thought the massive salary would give a good laugh to all those nurses and firemen being sacked in member states while we award ourselves pay rises based on an indexation mechanism of Byzantine complexity.”

A contact in European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s inner circle said a similar post had been considered in his cabinet.

“Barroso is a bit self-important. But with people around like Dalli [a Maltese commissioner who recently spoke out in defence of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi] and Ashton [a commission vice president labouring under the delusion that there is such a thing as EU foreign policy and that she is in charge of it], we thought we didn’t need any more clowns.”

A contact in EU parliament President Jerzy Buzek’s office added: “Nobody takes us seriously anyway. So we are going to wear very dark suits and Cuban heels.”

Happy April Fools’ day 😀

10 Steps to Becoming an Euroblogger

EU. Eternal love affair for East Europeans. I was just reading some analyses about region’s post-crisis perspectives and realized how much in fact I post about EU on Ad Astra Per Aspera, which was actually originally created to cover Georgian and Caucasian issues. Did I turn to EU-blogger or something? well, not really, however I know few who have such attempts. Guess following post will be very useful for them.

This hilarious post concerning the 10 simple steps to becoming an Euroblogger, was published  last year at Julien Frisch. I kept it in my internet browser bookmarks. Time to share, Enjoy:

photo from European Geostrategy.

1. You need to become crazy.

If you are not crazy yet, start reading the consolidated Lisbon Treaty from the first to the large page. If you finished reading and you are still not crazy, please apply for a job in one of the EU institutions.

2. You need to make the first and most important choice.

If you finished reading the Lisbon Treaty, you think it is crap and you don’t like the EU because of that, you need to call yourself a “eurosceptic”. If you think it is crap and you still like the EU you are now called “federalist”. As a Euroblogger you will belong in one of the two categories, and officially there is nothing in between.

3. You need a good name.

If you are lucky, you already have a good name or nickname that is easy to remember. If not, invent something. And since you are crazy, don’t hesitate to think of really strange animals when choosing your nickname.

4. You need to write a first post.

It doesn’t matter what you write, just use “Europe” and “EU” several times, first in the title and then in the text. Since normal bloggers don’t use these terms you will be clearly identified as a Euroblogger. Be aware that from now on you are an outcast in the general blogosphere.
Continue reading

“President Obama will be laying out a new economic plan, apparently, we had an old one” SORT OF STUFF

Since its weekend I will try to offer  something entertaining about politics. Here are some pictures you can both have fun with and make conclusions for further consideration.

The world this week according to Kal:

Related jokes of the week:

“President Obama says the Democrats are waking up. Which is great when you’re having a nightmare.” – Jay Leno

“Yesterday President Obama told voters that he’s a Christian. But you see how Fox News reported it? They said Obama admits he’s a follower of the bearded radical from the Middle East.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama said today that education is the key to our economic turnaround. He said once Americans start getting smarter, the economy will start to improve. So you know what that means: we are screwed.” –Jay Leno

“The president is 49 years old, but it’s never a good sign when your age is higher than your political approval rating.” –David Letterman

“President Obama announced his plan to remove all combat troops from Iraq by the end of August. So thank you to all the men and women serving in Iraq and ‘Good luck in Afghanistan!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Larry Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, is stepping down. So finally some good economic news, I’ll tell ya, Summers didn’t want to leave, but apparently he was out of bad ideas. Actually, Summers is actually the third Obama economic adviser to leave the White House since July. In face, the only jobs opening up these days are for White House economic advisers.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama will be laying out a new economic plan. Apparently, we had an old economic plan.” –Jay Leno

“Last night in only his second Oval Office address, President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said we have given the Iraqis a Western-style government. Well, we certainly have, haven’t we? Their economy is in shambles, their Congress is corrupt, the country is broke, welcome aboard!” –Jay Leno

Here you see how I view west – Eastern Europe (non EU) relations, same old stick and carrot theory:

And last but not least a little bit of EUrony:

(photo from The Independent)

Have a great weekend!

Their Eastern Approaches

I systematically follow Edward Lucas’s blog “Eastern Approaches” at The Economist. Yestarday I read an interesting post about EU-Russia visa liberalization. Lucas published this particular article at The Economist’s sister publication in Brussels, European Voice, that carries a weekly column called “Wil(d)er Europe”. Excerpt from article:

Leaving rhetoric aside, the issue is really about two things. One is fairness. Should Russia get a deal that is better (perhaps dramatically better) than what is on offer to the countries of the ‘Eastern Partnership’, such as Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova? The EU has repeatedly criticised the Russian policy of “passportisation” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia where ties with Moscow have been bolstered by the generous provision of Russian passports. If visa liberalisation now made it easier for such Russian passport-holders to get to the EU, it would be outrageously unfair. It would also undermine the attractiveness (and thus sovereignty) of the countries that we are trying to help.

Read the rest on my blog: Continue reading

EU’s Cognitive Dissonance

There are rumours that EU is suffering from what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.

Definition: Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, put it best in 2007: “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

As The economist puts it: “Will the European Union make it? The question would have sounded outlandish not long ago. Now even the project’s greatest cheerleaders talk of a continent facing a “Bermuda triangle” of debt, demographic decline and lower growth.”

A rival perception (between Germany and France) suggests that they are more like a couple on the verge of divorce: they agree on little, and trust each other even less. Consider the row over economic government. The French want to concoct a euro-zone block, with a direct line to the European Central Bank and fiscal harmonisation. The Germans reject this. They insist on a wider grouping, backed by strict budgetary discipline, and harsh sanctions for bad behaviour. The Economist

With unemployment the worst of the post-World War II era, there has never been a better pretext for reform they argue in Europe.

In Asia and America it has become fashionable to look upon these failings with disdain. Europe’s time is past, it is said. Its ageing, inward-looking citizens no longer have the resolve to overcome adversity. The Economist

I was very much amused with the readers’ comments in the end of The Economist article. One for instance: “If nations were individuals, Europe would be that senior citizen. I personally think they have gotten too lazy and the socialized services have added to the problem.” and another “Politically, Europeans look like the post-WWI isolationists who think they are too innocent to leave their lovely home and do anything for the ugly outside world.” They go further and argue that one the most important functions the EU plays is ensuring that Europe stays democratic. What they have on mind, among other issues, is that except for Britain, France and a few Scandinvian countries, most European countries have only a few decades of experience with democratic governance. The memory of dictatorships are fresh. “who knows what will happen if there is a serious depression in these countries, will their new democracies be able to stand a trial of fire?” – the readers ask. And yes, will the EU be capable to get rid of its cognitive dissonance and take a united lead? well, I am not that EUphile, so you can understand my not really optimsitic attitudes, however The Economist says:

Yes: the European Union will thrive if its leaders seize the moment in the same way they did 20 years ago.

Last but not least, there is another point I would like to make concerning EU’s confusion. Far from shifting Ukraine further towards Russia, the election of Viktor Yanukovych could provide the EU with the opportunity to reengage with the keystone to Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood, according to a new policy paper by European Council on Foreign Relations Ukraine expert Andrew Wilson. and an interesting quotation:

When the EU encourages states like Belarus and Amenia to reform, it is in effect asking them to be ‘more like Ukraine’. If that request makes leaders in Minsk or Yerevan recoil or laugh out loud, then Ukraine really will have failed – and Europe with it.

True Dr. Andrew Wilson, true…