The Europe roundup: Behind the scenes of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency

The Europe roundup: Behind the scenes of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 7 2011

  • EU | Behind the scenes of the Hungarian EU Council Presidency: a podcast
    Last Friday Yesterday the fourth meeting between eurobloggers and the Hungarian Presidency took place in the Hungarian representation in Brussels.
    Now you can listen to part of the meeting thanks to the editors of, as they explain on their blog: "The first part is on how the Presidency organises all the meetings of the Council and the challenges they face thereby. The second part is on interpretation in the Council, the different rules and arrangements and the demands that the interpretation practices create for the interpreters and the presidency.
    Here's also a post with some notes by Ronny Patz who attended this and all the previous meetings:

    I found it most interesting that according to Benö Modok from the Hungarian Presidency team it was surprising to them how much work it is actually to organise Council meetings  that usually seem to be given for non-presidency member states.
    Equally interesting was the fact that there is no handbook on how to run a presidency and that everything is learned through personal contacts with previous presidencies, the Council secretariat and the Commission how to run the organisation. Yet, having this organisational role in their hands was seen as important to shape the agenda during the presidency.
    I also didn’t expect that interpretation had to be booked so much in advance (~6-8 weeks) and that this limits, to a certain extend, the flexibility in rescheduling meetings in the Council.

  • Norway | FixMyStreet comes to Norway
    On mySociety blog, Tom Steinberg explains how successful FixMyStreet has been: the tool is very effective and simple but "the very simplicity that makes the site good hides the fact that making a site like FixMyStreet really work well is actually way harder than it looks".
    As many other groups tried to copy the tool, Steinberg has been particularly pleased with how things worked in the creation of Fiksgatami, the Norwegian FixMyStreet:

    NUUG’s Fiksgatami is the epitome of what makes civic open source at its best so unmatchably good. It was developed incredibly quickly: just a month to create what is effectively a fully fledged, best-of-breed nationwide e-government service – albeit an unofficial one. Thanks to the hard work of the public servants who fix problem reports, it will make small but meaningful improvements to the lives of a lot of people in Norway.  And it has made the free FixMyStreet codebase better and easier for other people to use to help them do the same thing in other countries.

  • Italy | Open data: are you ready?
    Tomorrow in Milan a conference will discuss the state of the art of open data in Italy. The meeting is part of the Digital Experience Festival, that is taking place this week.
    Speakers will include the most prominent experts in the field, including PdF Europe speakers Ernesto Belisario and Alberto Cottica.
    After the creation of the OpenGov Manifesto and the Spaghetti Open Data Initiative, what's next? Is Italy ready for open data? Well, for a different approach, the conference will be followed by a Civic Hackers Camp...
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