"Obviously, the markets for EU-related books are not tremendous"

So reads the EPP press release that trumpets the new EU textbook by Alexander Stubb MEP. Apparently the first edition sold 12,000 copies. That he finds time to write EU textbooks that are “not only for nerds” in between winning plaudits for his online efforts and being an MEP is in our view impressive. Even more so that it only took 298 pages to explain how the EU really works, when fellow blogging MEP Richard Corbett took 384 pages to explain the basics of just one institution.

The new book is timely for two reasons. Firstly, as homework for our own Maria Laptev, who takes on Bill Newton-Dunn MEP, Jeremy Rand (Council) and Sylvain Giraud (Commission) in a quiz on the intricacies of the Lisbon Treaty on 5 March at the European Centre for Public Affairs annual event. Secondly, given Stubb’s current role in the EP’s report on transparency, there are those of us who may be interested to see whether the book reflects a full understanding of how public affairs really works in Brussels.

The additional online resources (see, this post is not completely off topic) will surely be the key factor in ensuring that the new edition entices another 12,000 “nerds” (read students) to buy the book, thus ensuring that the market remains at least stable, if “not tremendous”.


February 15, 2008 | 7:26 PM

Compass, thanks for the comment but it appears to be a little off topic and therefore looks a lot like spam. As our blog actually seeks to cover good internet based political activity please feel free to simply drop us a note or line about your activities. We may actually write something ourselves on what you are up to. See our other postings on PES activity as an example. Cheers.

Compass Youth
February 15, 2008 | 3:23 PM

Shape the Party of European Socialists Manifesto in London! Every major issue (and solution) has global reach and every global issue has local impact. Only by making it more relevant to people's everyday lives can we develop a more social and democratic Europe. That's why PES Activists and Compass Youth want to make connections that will keep the PES in touch with the most dynamic and innovative thinking of local activists. You are the eyes and ears of your communities so come and join the debate with our amazing line-up of speakers and feed in your ideas and opinions. We will also launch our EU Citizens for London campaign as part of this series of debates. Check out the full series of events http://compassyouth.blogspot.com/2008/01/compass-youth-pes-manifesto.html

Ralf Grahn
February 14, 2008 | 3:52 PM

Actually I was not optimistic; I just stated an opinion: that people should become more interested. But, an additional comment to the EP 2009 campaign. If the European level parties launch candidates for Commission president, the elections will raise more human insterest than before.

February 13, 2008 | 10:29 AM

Ralf, As you point out, the European elections should be the ideal time to raise awareness and hopefully increase understanding of what MEPs do and the political issues that divide them in the European Parliament. However, personal experience suggests that the issues at stake here in Brussels are not likely to be played out in the forthcoming elections to any great extent. Two reasons; firstly the domestic political agenda is always more central to the national parties concerns in the European elections than the debates dividing groups in the European Parliament. Secondly, for citizens to take action (i.e. vote) they have to have first been made aware that elections are taking place (not always the case) and understand the impact that their vote has (not easy when their vote doesn't contribute to a change of government). While the development of pan-European manifesto may be a step in the right direction, I think I have to agree with Quentin Peel's recent FT column ( Feb 8 ) that suggested that the result of the compromise of Lisbon has been to make the system more complicated. As such, despite your optimism Lisbon may have helped raise awareness, but not addressed understanding.

Ralf Grahn
February 13, 2008 | 8:13 AM

If the citizens of the European Union have not realised the importance of the EU before, the Treaty of Lisbon in combination with the elections to the European Parliament should contribute to an increasing understanding that every man, woman and child should be aware of the EU basics.