Dienstag, 26. Mai 2009
EU Ballot has Arrived
Ballot. (novala)

So this is the official Austrian voting ballot for the EU elections. I am going to decide over the weekend whom to vote for. Don't really know yet. The EU Profiler might help me gain orientation.

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Mittwoch, 6. Mai 2009
The A-Team for EU? Try the EU Profiler
I don't think political parties know how ridiculous they are. The Austrian Social Democrats want to be cool:

A-team. (novala)

In case you don't know which party to vote for, try the EU Profiler and "discover your position in the political landscape for the 2009 European Parliament Elections".

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Freitag, 17. April 2009
European Elections Coming Up - Did YOU Know?
In several media I read that the Austrians don't really intend to participate in the elections for the European Parliament in June. I am surprised they know that these elections take place at all. Have you noticed any campaigns? I for sure wouldn't even know whom to vote for, since I don't know whom I actually could vote for? Any names, any programs??

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Freitag, 21. Dezember 2007
Border-Crossings - You are History!
A couple of years ago I started taking pictures of border-crossings. A lot of these photographs are already historical, since the border stations have long vanished.

Sign in Kittsee. (novala)

I assume that more will vanish soon: Tonight the Schengen contract was expanded to Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Malta, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. It doesn't just make travelling more easy and faster - for someone like me who grew up in times of cold war and two Germanys the dimension of this is incredible. Not too long ago barbed wire separated us and now we can just freely walk over to the other side without even showing a passport. For those of you who tried to cross a border to the Eastern Block - you know what I am talking about.

Although I am gratefull and happy to welcome the neighboring countries to the Schengen area, I won't forget what would not have happened without these borders: I would never have met Jovanka during the night of the EU-enlargement.

She was on her way home from Innsbruck to Serbia by bus. She didn't know she needed a visa to cross Hungary. So the Hungarian border police pulled her out of the bus and sent her back to Austria. When I crossed the border in the middle of the night, the Austrian border police asked me to give her a ride to Vienna. And that's how my own personal Balkan story got momentum.

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Freitag, 19. Oktober 2007
New Motorway: Vienna - Bratislava in 50 Minutes
Finally, finally, finally - the motorway A6 connecting the Austrian motorway A4 with the bordercrossing Kittsee will be opened 20 November.

This will reduce my driving time from Vienna South to Bratislava from 70 to 50 minutes.

Slovakia is going to join the Schengen contract 1 Jan 08. Maybe even two weeks earlier to make Christmas business easier.

burgenland.ORF.at: Wien - Bratislava in 50 Minuten [German]

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Samstag, 24. März 2007
German National Meal: Sauerkraut.
S a u e r k r a u t??
Apparently the EU celebrates Europe in a Day tomorrow. If you search a while you even find information on that. You can go on a "Europe Rally" through the embassies of the EU member states in Vienna, visit exhibitions and open houses in the chancellor's palace and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. On Minoritenplatz a youth band plays.

You find the information on the website Austria created last year on the occasion of its EU presidency. What you also find are brief introductions of the member states. I had a look at Germany. "National meal: Sauerkraut" it says. Sauerkraut?? Not even the neighbors are able to make the difference between Bavaria and the rest of Germany. But if Sauerkraut is not the national meal of Germany - what is it? Beer?

www.zukunfteuropa.at [German, English]

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Mittwoch, 27. Dezember 2006
EU-Enlargements: Fireworks for Romania and Bulgaria?
Quietly Romania and Bulgaria sneak into the European Union. There were negotiations, remember? But hardly any news on the progress. So the whole thing didn't reach public interest.

Discussions whether it's too early for those two countries to join ended with yes. Among other things corruption still is an issue.

According to an interview with Romanian president Traian Basescu" by Spiegel Online Romania is looking for skilled workers. "I assure you that in Romania there is so much work now that we are urgently looking for workers." What kind of work it doesn't say.

Street sign. (novala)
EU fork

What I was asking myself is: Do Serbs need a visa now to go to Romania and Bulgaria? My friends live in Halovo which is 500 meters away from the Bulgarian border. Although you are not allowed to cross the fields there, but need to use the official border-crossing in Zaječar, border traffic was going back and forth without any major hassle. (Except that you sometimes have to wait for 1,5 days to cross it.)

Do my friends now need a visa to go shopping in Vidin? Are they totally stuck now?

And will there be fireworks in the night of the EU-enlargement? Yes. Of course. But maybe not for Romania and Bulgaria.

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Donnerstag, 21. September 2006
European Flight Safety
Last weekend I took a Schengen flight which means I flew from one member of the Schengen contract to another and didn't have to go through customs anywhere.

Being a devoted contributor to digital life I booked my flight online and checked in on the Austrian Airlines website the night before take-off. Seat 12A, window. All I needed to do at the airport was printing out my boarding ticket at the quick check-in automats.

During the entire process all I had to do was typing in my credit card number and the one of my miles and more card. Nobody ever asked for my passport. Nowhere. If you use the analog check in, because you carry more than hand luggage you are required to show your passport.

Is it this what they call enhanced flight safety??

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Dienstag, 9. Mai 2006
The EU Journalist Award 2006: EU wide competition on discrimination and diversity
"Open for print and online journalists

The 'For Diversity. Against Discrimination.' Journalist Award 2006 is granted by the European Union to honour journalists who contribute with their work to a better public understanding of the benefits of diversity and the fight against discrimination in society. Print and online journalists in the 25 EU Member States are requested to submit articles on issues of discrimination or diversity on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation."


[via http://www.shortcut.squarespace.com/]

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Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2005
50 Jahre EU-Flagge
"Mit nun genau 50 Jahren ist die Europa-Fahne eine der jüngsten Flaggen der Welt. Dennoch kann das Emblem mit den zwölf gelben Sternen auf blauem Grund bereits auf eine bewegte Geschichte zurückblicken - vom Kampf um das Streichen von drei der ursprünglich geplanten 15 Sterne über den Vorwurf versteckter Geheimsymbole bis hin zum "Diebstahl" des Entwurfs, der eigentlich gar nicht der EU gehörte. Österreich kann sich jedenfalls rühmen, der Geburtshelfer für die Idee der Flagge gewesen zu sein." [Quelle: ORF.at]

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