European Council, Council of the European Union, Council of Europe: Few things are as confusing for EU citizens as the institutional structure at European level. To make matters worse, the EU institutions are joined by various European organizations that have nothing directly to do with the EU. This applies, for example, to the Council of Europe, which was founded in 1949 as a debate forum and to which all countries on the continent except Belarus and Kosovo currently belong. The European Council and the Council of the European Union, on the other hand, are the bodies of the EU ministers or heads of state and government. In short: it’s complicated.
Nevertheless, there are people who are not only willing to familiarize themselves with such a cumbersome subject, but who actually do it with passion. In such cases one sometimes speaks of nerds, and so one could get the idea that the Verfassungsblog (constitution blog), which the lawyer, journalist and writer Maximilian Steinbeis founded ten years ago, is a platform for … well, for nerds. In reality, the website, which defines itself as “a journalistic and academic forum of debate on topical events and developments in constitutional law and politics in Germany, the emerging European constitutional space and beyond”, is among the best on the web for anyone dealing with European legal issues, whether they have to or really want to.
All texts on the site are available in English, some in German. The diversity of the contributions is almost limitless within the framework of the overarching topic of “Law and Constitution”: Several hundred bloggers from all parts of Europe and beyond are registered in the author directory. Corresponding texts are grouped into debates. No question: the whole thing is damn well done. It remains complicated nonetheless.