Varied, delicious and unhealthy you hike in Burgundy. If you want, you can also immerse yourself in the spiritual world of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern times. In Burgundy, I have made more than half of my St. James Way since Berlin. Somewhere between Beaune and Taizé was half-time on my route to Santiago. Now, I have arrived in the former monastic center of Europe, in Cluny. So there are still 1,799 km ahead of me. My stage this time was a very mixed surprising 10 days, with varied nature, lots of weather changes and alternating spirituality. The people I met were very special this time. Since I took two mental and physical rest days in Citeaux and Taizé, there were completely new insights. More in German
Hot, poor and surprisingly hospitable was my last route! 2022 was my first year of pilgrimage on my long journey from Berlin to Santiago de Compostela after the terrible pandemic that had kept us all in check. It was going to be an incredibly hot tour through an exciting as well as poor area in the east of France, through the former regions of Lorraine, Champagne to Burgundy, with beautiful historic places like Neufchâteau, Langres, Marcilly-en-Bassigny or such an enchanted place as Lamarche. The pilgrim infrastructure was as bad as the people were hospitable. And it was hot, very hot. 👣 More in German
For several years, media outlets and independent democratic organizations have come under systematic pressure in many European countries. Minority rights are under attack. Even the independence of the judiciary is now open to question. The belief in self-correction in democratic societies continues to wane. The troublesome situation in Hungary and Poland is not just a national matter of European Union law being misapplied in specific member states. Various regulations and sanctions do offer some hope in the situation, including Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) with the EU framework for strengthening the rule of law as well as the rule of law mechanism. But will stricter monitoring and more consistent enforcement be enough? Perhaps what is missing is a consistent commitment to democratic checks and balances? In this context, Germany’s foreign and European policies need to do more to support cross-border democracy. My article in Internationale Politik Quarterly.
Lobbyism in war, in a pandemic… seriously? My first proseminar in presence takes place this time in Passau and Berlin. Space for orientation on how lobbyism works in the multi-level system even in extreme times of tension and danger. The focus is on Berlin’s role in EU lobbying. In the engine room of German European policy, there is of course a balancing of interests. An extreme example is the massive and successful lob
bying of Russian state-owned corporations on German energy policy despite opposition in Brussels and other capitals. At the same time, the Bundestag, under public pressure, has started to regulate lobbying, following the EU model. How much further will the Europeanisation of interest balancing and legislation go? The students try to solve all this with me in the proseminar EU Lobbyism in Berlin and Brussels on the basis of theories and empirical research.
So different and yet so similarly beautiful are the paths in Europe. Je suis arrivé en France! I was supposed to go from Trier to Toul in 2021. The last few metres of my journey towards Santiago took me through the German countryside. And only for Schengen was I in Luxembourg again. Then I dived into the Grand Est of France, with a surprisingly beautiful amount of history and stories. In a roundabout way, I saw villages that my grandfather entered as a prisoner after the Second World War and left as a friend. Of course, it was another pandemic tour. The most annoying borders on my way were drawn by a virus.
That’s what the mid-life challange is all about. New perspectives! The present of my love for my 50th birthday was very special and offered me a session with Berlin Mitte photo portrait artist Mathias Bothor. It became more than a photo shooting. More pics
The article sheds light on the relation between political influence of interest groups in the EU legislative process and pluralist democracy in the European system of multi-level governance. In this context, the article critically examines whether the representation of societal interests can be analytically distinguished from (corporate and private) lobbyism. It is the article’s main thesis that interest representation can only contribute to more democracy and legitimacy in the EU system of multi-level governance if all corporate, governmental, and legislative actors involved in the decision-making process commit themselves to greater transparency.
Hüttemann, Bernd; Sandmann, Elena (2020): Im Mittelfeld der Europapolitik: Zivilgesellschaft, Lobbyismus und Partizipative Demokratie im Mehrebenensystem der EU. In: Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 32 (4), S. 557–569. DOI: 10.1515/fjsb-2019-0061.
Together with Elena Sandmann I recently evaluated the midfield between citizens and political stakeholder. The article sheds light on the relation between political influence of interest groups in the EU legislative process and pluralist democracy in the European system of multi-level governance. In this context, the article critically examines whether the representation of societal interests can be analytically distinguished from (corporate and private) lobbyism. It is the article’s main thesis that interest representation can only contribute to more democracy and legitimacy in the EU system of multi-level governance if all corporate, governmental, and legislative actors involved in the decision-making process commit themselves to greater transparency. Read more
Istanbul has been a place of longing for me for many years. For a year now I have been diving more regularly into the megacity, into a very special area called Çukurcuma (“Friday Valley”). It is so unknown that I wrote a corresponding Wikipedia article in German today. Çukurcuma is a lively little quarter ignored by package tourists, but encourages individual treasure hunters to get to know antique shops, cafés and a “museum of innocence” of a Nobel Prize winner in literature. Read more
This time I made my way to the holy as libertarian Cologne! This time I made 146 km of my pilgrimage to Santiago (of already 790 km since Berlin). The stage led me from the Westphalian Sauerland highlands, over the so called Bergische Land into the Cologne Lowland crossing the River Rhine. On foot I became aware of the differences that still today are marked by the small territories of the Holy Roman Empire, divided into Kölsch beer drinkers, Schalke fans, agricultural, working and middle-class economies and of course incredulous, Catholic and Lutheran cultures. That’s the way my home state North Rhine-Westphalia is. However, in Grevenbrück near Lennestadt I started.
I went over the “Heidenstraße”, a way I took since Elspe! The “Pagans’ way” medieval trade route ran through the unspoiled hills of the Sauerland. From Grevenbrück I hiked first to Attendorn. The road still reminded me of the Hochsauerland, with its many Catholic shrines and chapels. In Attendorn, the St John Baptis parish welcomed me in the person of the extremely friendly pastor Neuser. He had “tricked” me with the promise of just a simple place to sleep, but my “bedstead” became a perfect geastroom in the baroque rectory. Despite summer vacations, the community life seemed very lively, as in Giershagen I had a community meeting. The pastor himself was a pilgrim in Spain. He confirmed, however, that not so many pilgrims had knocked on the streets in Attendorn over the years. Too bad they miss real hospitality, including morning coffee and local newspaper.