Website in "average shape" as France takes over

Today is significant. Firstly, it’s 30 degree sunshine in Brussels, and secondly it’s the first day of the French Presidency of the EU. Bonjour.

As a shameful Anglophone, I’ll be dusting down the pocket dictionary, practicing my rolled Rs, and getting ready for six months of unmitigated Frenchness. And hurrah for it, as an initial look at the French Presidency’s website reveals our “citizen-orientated” Presidency is taking its digital communications seriously.

So often EU presidency websites have been about as exciting as the Solvency II proposal (apologies to our Financial Services team, who are all very special). However, it looks like Sarko and co have decided to raise the bar. Here’s how:

PFUE TV: the inspirationally-named PFUE TV (there was apparently a huge debate about whether or not to include the “P” and the “E” :)) is the most striking addition to the usual presidency stoge. The channel has, at the moment, limited content and is horrendously slow to load – let’s hope that something more dynamic than speeches by Fillon and Kouchner will be added over the next six months (more Carla Bruni please!).

EVENTS MAP: the French events map is a cool idea and uses Google Earth to identify events taking place in France over the next six months. Nice thinking.

CALENDAR TEST: As a public affairs professional it tends to drive me insane when I cannot easily access Council meeting documents. So I’m going to try it now…and I’ve failed; well I tried to get info on the ECOFIN Council next week, and there’s no agenda there yet. I guess it is still early so the jury’s out on that one.

WEATHER: I’ve noticed other Presidency sites have done this, but who in their right mind goes to an EU Presidency website to check the weather. I’d say that there’s a huge cloud gathering over Lisbon following the recent storm in Ireland…(oh dear)

Other thoughts on the French Presidency from our colleagues in Paris are more than welcome…

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Council’s website: a symbol for all that’s wrong with the EU? « Public Affairs 2.0
July 09, 2008 |6:13 PM

[...] As colleagues have pointed out, trying to find a document - any document - that relates to Council discussions on a particular legislative text is annoyingly hard (sometimes impossible). The only way to do it is a search through the document registry by COD number, keyword or date or browse a long list of latest documents and hope you strike gold. It’s annoying for us and this is what we do for a living - imagine you’re an interested citizen seeking to understand the way Council deals with legislation (long shot, I know). [...]