Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final Two Preview

Welcome to the Preview for the Second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, if you missed Semi 1 it’s here! I will of course be making a prediction, which will most likely be wrong!

This year the 57th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan. 42 countries will be taking part. Montenegro returns this year to the competition while Poland and Armenia wont be taking part.

10 countries from each of the Semi-finals will proceed to the Final and join the five automatic qualifiers, the Big Four (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and last years winners and this year’s host Azerbaijan.

The voting will be again be by a combination of Televoting and Professional Jury.

The First Semi Final will take place on the 22nd of May, followed by the Second Semi Final on the 24th of May and the final taking place on May 26th. All shows start at 8:00pm GMT (9:00pm CET)

Ireland has been drawn in the First Semi-Final. France, Germany and United Kingdom will also be voting in this Semi-Final.

All the betting odds are from and are correct as of April 30th.

So on with the show!

01 Serbia: Željko Joksimović with “Nije ljubav stvar” (Love is not an object)

This is Željko 2nd attempt at Eurovision, having represented Serbia and Montenegro (as it was then known) where he came 2nd in 2004 with “Lane Moje“. This is a powerful song and definitely has the chance of doing well. It will be a top ten finisher, but will it win? I dont think so. Odds: 12/1

02 F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi with “Crno i belo” (Black and white)

We stay in the Balkans for the next entry, this starts off slow, but then really gets going. Lots of musical influences at play here with Kaliopi who is well known around the Balkans and could bode well for the voting, but can’t see her picking up too many votes outside of the Balkans. Odds:125/1

03 Netherlands: Joan Franka with “You and Me”

This is a happy, feel good song of Eurovision of old. The Netherlands hasn’t havent had the best results of late at Eurovision and I don’t think this year will be different with Joan. It is a nice song, but will the televoters like it? This could be rescued by the Jurors. Odds 50/1

04 Malta: Kurt Calleja with “This Is the Night”

Malta keeps up its tradition of sending modern songs. This is a better entry then some of the previous entries, but it isn’t as good as some of the entries,but it is catchy (ye eh eh eh eh). Kurt has a chance of qualifying I think. Odds: 150/1

05 Belarus: Litesound with “We Are the Heroes”

Litesound, whos members hail from Belarus, Russia and Italy, finally managed to win the right to represent Belarus this year. They have entered a bit of a pop/rock tune. Its not that great (needs autotune!) or memorable, could struggle to get out of the Semi. Odds: 100/1

06 Portugal: Filipa Sousa with “Vida minha” (Life of mine)

Portugal again attempts to do something different and this year has entered a ballad in the Portuguese “Fado” style. While there is no doubt that Filipa is an amazing singer, but it will have to depend a lot on stage presentation to get through. Odds 150/1

07 Ukraine: Gaitana with “Be My Guest”

The Ukraine likes to send strong women to Eurovision and this year is no different with Gaitana. This is a upbeat catchy song which will definately be heard in clubs! This will go down well in the hall, if the stage presentation is as upbeat and powerful as the song. One to watch. Odds: 66/1

08 Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova with “Love Unlimited”

A number of countries tried out dance songs last year and this year Bulgaria is trying out one. Love Unlimited is certainly a song you can dance too, but is it what Eurovision audiences want? Odds: 100/1

09 Slovenia: Eva Boto with “Verjamem” (I believe)

At the half way point is Slovenia, who have entered a Ballad. Eva has a beautiful voice and it perfectly suits this haunting song. This could be one to surprise us if it gets to the final. Odds: 50/1

10 Croatia: Nina Badrić with “Nebo” (Heaven)

Croatia this year sent one of the top performers in Croatia to Baku, and it has paid off. Nina has a wonderful song which will win people over. This is a song you should listen to ahead of the show! Odds: 80/1

11 Sweden: Loreen with “Euphoria”

Sweden, who were pipped at the post last year, are back with a vengeance! It is this year’s pre-contest favourite, which can be the kiss of death! But I think Loreen could pull it off. It is a song that ticks all the boxes and is definitely a possible winner! (Yes im typing while bopping around to it!) Odds: 9/4

12 Georgia: Anri Jokhadze with “I’m a Joker”

This is, erm, different. But it is a bit of fun at the end of the day. It wouldn’t be Eurovision without it! Interestingly Anri is the first male performer to represent Georgia! Im looking forward to see what he will do on stage with this! Odds: 125/1

13 Turkey: Can Bonomo with “Love Me Back”

There is no doubt of the Mediterranean influence on this song! Turkey have remember why they have done well in the past and sent Can Bonomo, a DJ, Producer and musician. This is a song that will be remembered and will certainly qualify! Odds 20/1

14 Estonia: Ott Lepland with “Kuula” (Listen)

Ott who won Estonian Idol in 2009; the lead role in High School Musical in 2010; the show Laulupealinn (Singing Capital) in 2011 and of course Eesti Laul, the Estonian national selection. He is hoping to add the Eurovision Song Contest to this list with this very powerful ballad. It stands out as being the only male ballad so far. He also wrote this song himself. He will do well! Odds: 50/1

15 Slovakia: Max Jason Mai with “Don’t Close Your Eyes”

Max is a bit of hotty, in the rocky kinda way! Max who is also a guitarist brings proper rock music to Eurovision this year. He reminds me a bit of Jon Bon Jovi! Its a good song and better then some of the other rock offerings we have had this year. Odds 100/1

16 Norway: Tooji with “Stay”

Tooji is Norway’s answer to Eric Saade, but with Iranian roots! (Read total ride) This is a good song, which Norway has managed to do over the past few years. But this is one of their best entries in a number of years. Odds: 25/1

17 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maya Sar with “Korake ti znam” (I know your steps)

And Bosnia sends another ballad. It is a lovely song and it is better then some of the other ballads this year. Maya is a fantastic singer, and will most likely own the stage in Baku. Odds 80/1

18 Lithuania: Donny Montell with “Love Is Blind”

I wonder will he wear the blind fold in Baku, it does work and he is very cute! But the song is only so-so. But it may still get through!  Odds 100/1

So that is all the entries for the Second Semi-Final.


So who will get through to the final? Some of it easy to guess, some of it not! So in no particular order,

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Ukraine
  4. Turkey
  5. Serbia
  6. Slovenia
  7. Estonia
  8. Croatia
  9. Lithuania
  10. The Netherlands.

What do you think?

Conference: The European Union and Turkey: The Accession Negotiations and Beyond

Flags of the EU and Turkey.
Image via Wikipedia

I meant to post this during the week. I received this via email from the Centre for the Study of Wider Europe in NUI Maynooth, during the week and some readers may find this interesting.

To coincide with the visit to Dublin of Mr Egemen Bağiş, Turkey’s Chief Negotiator with the European Union, The Centre for the Study of Wider Europe ( ) at the National University of Ireland Maynooth is to host a one day conference on 18 November 2010 on Turkey’s relationship with the EU.

Amongst the papers tabled for delivery are contributions on Turkey’s historic relationship with Europe; recent patterns of democratization and Europeanization; minority rights in Turkey; civil-society relations, and new directions in Turkish foreign policy. The event will be addressed by Mr. Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s chief negotiator with the European Union. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Ilter Turan, one of Turkey’s most renowned public intellectuals and Professor of Political Science at Istanbul Bilgi University. Other speakers confirmed include:

  • Dr. Bill Park of King’s College, London;
  • Dr. John O’Brennan of NUI Maynooth,
  • Dr. Edel Hughes of UL
  • Professor Eddie Moxon-Browne of UL
  • Dr. Neophytos Loizides of Queen’s University, Belfast.

The event will be chaired by Mary Fitzgerald of the Irish Times. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs ‘Communicating Europe’ programme and the Turkish embassy in Dublin.

The full timetable is here. Contact John(dot)obrennan(AT)nuim(dot)ie for more information.

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Where does Europe End? – The future challenges of EU Enlargement.

Where does Europe End, is one of the often asked questions when talking about the enlargement of the European Union.  With the current negotiations with Turkey progressing (albeit slowly) the next challenge will be where next? Will the accession of Turkey see Syria (Middle East) or Armenia (Western Asia) applying for membership?

That is of course dependent on Turkey being integrated into the EU’s structures as that itself will involve reform of the institutions. Turkey if its joins will be the second largest EU member state in terms of population, second only to that of Germany. This will mean that voting weights and seats in the European Parliament will have to be moved around to satisfy the older member states. The accession, or possible accession of, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Iceland, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, do not present the same challenges to the EU institutions and can easily be absorbed into the institutions, though maybe not all at once.

But after Turkey will the EU expand beyond the Balkans? Will the Ukraine or Belarus (both with large populations) apply to join? Belarus may be a long way off, but Ukraine may apply before negotiations with Turkey finish. Will the Europe Union start looking beyond Europe for members? Will Morocco reapply? Could Cape Verde, due to its close ties to the EU and proximity to the Canary Islands, apply?

These are the challenges that face the EU after it deals with the issue of Turkish accession. That is dependent of course on there being an appetite for the further expansion of the European Union. Older Member States seem reluctant to expand the EU further. Opposition to Turkish accession seems to be strongest in the likes of Germany and France. There is a quasi racism to this opposition, but also there is a weariness of expansion. This is evidenced by the fears of the “Plombier polonaise”, Polish Plumber, in France after the accession of Poland and the other Central and Eastern European States in 2004.

Beyond France the limits on the immigration of workers from Bulgaria and Romania after accession in most EU member states shows the unwillingness of member states to completely open up to new members of the union.  This shows the reluctance of member states to fully open up to new members. This in the future translate could translate to the end of enlargement of the European Union after the accession of the current candidate states.

The accession of more states from Eastern Europe and the Balkans will mean a further move of power away from Western Europe. Upon the accession of the Balkans, they will be a formidable Eastern European bloc within the EU. This will again see more changes being made to the institutions of the EU. Again the interplay here with Turkey on its accession with other member states and would it be more Eastern or Western in its outlook is what has most political leaders worried.

Another issue at stake is the feelings of ordinary European Citizens. While citizens of applicant states get a say in whether or not a country joins the EU, normally through referenda,  the citizens of countries already members have no say. There is growing resentment to this situation and this in turn fuels far rights groups as they promise referenda on future EU enlargement, often though this has been offered by not so far right groups in ordinary to entice voters back!

EU enlargement is turning into a minefield and the EU, member states and applicant states must be cautious on how they approach it.

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Predictions for 2007

Well Sam over at Pull out the Pin as asked me to make some predictions for 2007. So here it goes.

1) The Irish General Election will be longest in history

2) It will result in a hung Dáil

3) The situation in Iraq will deteriorate, increasing the support for the Democrats in the US

4) In the UK, Tony Blair will finally resign and Gordon Brown will take over

5) Talks will be fully suspended in Turkeys negotiations to join the EU

6) Japan will develop nuclear weapons as a Defensive deterrant against North Korea.

7) The Socialists will sweep to power in France.

8) Civil Unions will be brought into Ireland

9) Their will be a confusing referendum in Ireland on Childrens Rights.

Okay thats it, now its your turn.

Sams Predictions

EU Split on Turkey, Surpised? I’m not


Well, I thought the EU was always spilt on this. I think we should suspend all negioations with Turkey until it recognises all 25 member states of the Union and fully complies with its obligations under the pacts and treaties it has signed with the EU. No other couintry would be shown so much leinancy on negioations but turkey, so why is it recieving special treatment. Thats what the EU Governments need to be explaining to us the Citizens of Europe.

On the same I disagree with the idea of France holding a referendum on Turkish membership, I know their precedent with them holding a referendum on the UK, Ireland and Denmarks entry to the EU, but I dont think its fair population should be given a veto over it.

Interesting Stuff

Morning all,

Red Cardinal have a Report out on eGovernment Accessibility Analysis

The Green Party are launching their transport policy today for Cork today in the Clarion (via I cant find any details on the time of it on the Green Party’s Website or Dan Boyle’s Website

I also got mentioned on the Cross of St. George Forums for my post ‘If Scotland, NI and Wales have their own Legislatures Why Dosen’t England?

The Transport Minister, Seamus Brennan, has said their will not be a referendum before the next election (via RTÉ). So does that mean it will be on the same day as the Election or will be after it? If it is held on the day of the election it might increase voter turnout, just like at the last Local and European Elections in 2004.

Euronews aired a very interesting piece this morning on ‘What do Europeans think of their neighbours’. It raised a few interesting questions on forming identities and a privilged partnership arrangement for some applicant states like Turkey.

Commission presents its recommendation on the continuation of Turkey’s accession negotiations

Following the announcement by the Finnish Presidency that diplomatic efforts to ensure that Turkey meets its obligations under the Ankara Protocol have not bear fruit, the Commission today decided to put forward its recommendation on the continuation of Turkey’s accession negotiations.

“There is a unanimous decision by the Member States to conduct accession negotiations with Turkey. These negotiations need to be credible. Turkey has undoubtedly made progress. But it has still not implemented all obligations it has agreed to. The Commission’s recommendation is both clear and measured. The overall progress of negotiations depends on the overall progress of the respect of the obligations agreed to.” – said after the decision Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn added: “Europe needs a stable, democratic and increasingly prosperous Turkey. This is why we started accession negotiations a year ago. In the light of the strategic importance of EU-Turkey relations today we confirm that these negotiations continue, although with a slower pace. We will be able to return to normal speed as soon as Turkey has fulfilled its obligations related to the Ankara Protocol.”

The Commission recommends, as follows:

1) The Commission notes that Turkey has not fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, and that restrictions to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on means of transport, remain in force.

2) In these circumstances and with reference to the declaration of 21 September 2005 of the European Community and its Members States, the Commission recommends that the Intergovernmental Conference on Accession with Turkey should not open negotiations on chapters covering policy areas relevant to Turkey’s restrictions as regards the Republic of Cyprus until the Commission confirms that Turkey has fulfilled its commitments. These chapters are: Chapter 1 free movement of goods, Chapter 3 Right of establishment and freedom to provide services, Chapter 9 Financial services, Chapter 11 agriculture and rural development, Chapter 13 fisheries, Chapter 14 transport policy, Chapter 29 customs union, and Chapter 30 external relations .

3) Moreover, the Commission recommends that no chapter be provisionally closed until the Commission has confirmed that Turkey has fully implemented its commitments with respect to the Additional Protocol.

4) The Commission will inform the Council on any progress on the issues covered by the declaration of 21 September 2005 in its annual progress reports.

5) Given the progress achieved, work should now focus on completing the screening process. Such chapters for which the technical preparations have been completed should continue to be opened, in line with the Negotiating Framework.

6) The Commission underlines the importance of the resumption of a process leading rapidly to fully-fledged negotiations in 2007 under UN auspices on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.

okay i could ramble all day about why Im against turkish entry to the EU, but if why should they be allowed join if they fully recognise a member state of the EU. It makes no sense to me.