Passaparola - The vine whisperer - Carlo Cignozzi

The music that wakes nature up
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Me, here, from this place, from this Tuscany, from Italy, from Europe, I have never received even a single Euro. The vine whisperer is also the title of a book that talks about me. I am no scientist, however, I do believe that music is such an important thing in our lives that also involving plants and animals is not a bad thing. Indeed, it is something useful. I sincerely hope that this methodology – which was recognised by the United Nations in 2011 and got us onto the list of the top-100 eco-sustainable projects on the planet – will proudly begin here in Tuscany, from Montalcino to be precise, and spread out to all the other areas where there is agriculture and viticulture in order to achieve one thing, namely to kill off all OGMs and chemical intervention! If audio frequencies can do what OGMs and chemicals do with their devastating effects then we will all be very happy indeed. Carlo Cignozzi, attorney and farmer.

Carlo Cignozzi : This here is a truly magnificent area. We are here in Montalcino, on an ancient farm that is almost a thousand years old. It is known as “Paradiso di Frassina”. I landed up here in the Val d’Orcia purely by accident 15 years ago, here in this endless expanse of hills where there is absolutely nothing that is ugly. All there is is art and culture. There is no other place like it anywhere else in the world. It’s no coincidence that it is a humanity heritage site. I came here in the late nineties and I immediately realised that we could do something absolutely spectacular in this place, namely bring in the music. Right here in this magnificent place where they used to produce the legendary Brunello, I had this vision: if the Orientals who are amongst the world’s best at observing nature say that music and audio frequencies can help nature to grow better then I want to believe, I don’t know why.
I was an attorney, however, I was keen to discover what would happen if I combined music with the Brunello vineyard that I was busy setting up. I began experimenting all on my own. Then I noticed that with the first speakers I set up at the corners of the Vineyard, the vines seemed to be more alive, their metabolism speeded up and better physiological processes were occurring. Subsequently I began to collaborate with the Florence University, with the great Professor Mancuso to be precise, who is a renowned authority in the field of so-called plant neurology. We proceeded to conduct a research project together with Professor Luchi, an entomologist from the Pisa University. Within a matter of just a few years we realised that audio frequencies, just like light, are able to give more life and an improved metabolism to an entire plant.
This sparked a media frenzy. Television reporters from around the world descended upon us. At a certain point in the United States of America one individual - Amar Boose – one of the major world experts on audio who had done some major work in Boston with the MIT and had then gone on to set up his own company, namely Boose Incorporated, the Rolls Royce of sound.
This gentleman saw me on television, on Good Morning America, and he then offered to help me out. I never received a penny from here, from this place, from Italy or from Europe. Professor Boose sent his senior advisor here. He handed me a letter and I immediately thought he wanted to sell me some of his very expensive Boose speakers. I told the man that I could never afford to buy their Boose speakers. He answered that he was only there to deliver that letter. So I opened it and this is what it said: "Carlo, I don’t know you but I am a Hindu and, like all Hindus I believe in universal vibrations. Music is the best form of vibration that we can sense, but we humans must not be presumptuous because these vibrations that we call music is not meant solely for us but for the entire biological world, including the poor plants that make up 98 percent of the biological life on this planet. I follow you and I want to help you".
For me this was the most amazing thing ever. I began to work with this man and he provided me with about a hundred of their latest generation speakers. At the same time he also helped both the Pisa and the Florence Universities.
Music is a type of vibration that is very useful to man. We need music. Have you ever heard of anyone, from the shaman through to the great concerts of the 2000s, who can say no to music? Of course not! It all began with rhythm, percussion, then melody, vocals and then harmony, the composition of various sounds, all ending up in a new world, namely the world of music and harmony. No human civilisation has ever lived without some form of music, which makes you think, doesn’t it? And it not only affects man. In the Middle Ages, through research and observation some French monks realised that when they located their barns near the place where they sang their Gregorian chants the cows in those barns produced more milk and the quality of their milk was also better.
Never mind Pythagoras, Newton and all the research that has been done on music and harmony purely from a human perspective or even from the perspective of mathematics, geometry and physics. I am no scientist, however, I do believe that music is such an important thing in our lives that also involving plants and animals is not a bad thing. Indeed, it is something useful. I sincerely hope that this methodology – which was recognised by the United Nations in 2011 and got us onto the list of the top-100 eco-sustainable projects on the planet – will proudly begin here in Tuscany, from Montalcino to be precise, and spread out to all the other areas where there is agriculture and viticulture in order to achieve one thing, namely to kill off all OGMs and chemical intervention! If audio frequencies can do what OGMs and chemicals do with their devastating effects then we will all be very happy indeed.
Federico Ricci: Hello to all the friends of Beppe Grillo’s Blog. My name is Federico Ricci, agronomist and viticulturist at the “Paradiso di Frassina” in Montalcino, a farm where we have been busy since 2006, researching the effects that sound waves have on grape vines. This is something rather unusual and we have been helped with our research by the Universities of Florence and Pisa. The University of Florence is studying the effects of sound waves on the grape vines while the University of Pisa has been studying the effects of sound waves on the insects that inhabit vineyards.
Well, the results have been phenomenal to say the least in that, as regards the plants, we have learned that sound waves, and more specifically classical music, in other words low frequency sounds and vibrations stimulate the exchange of potassium and calcium ions within the plants’ cells. The plant thus becomes more resistant to illness in general. As an organic farm, we have been able to reduce the amount of copper and sulphur that we treat the vines with by 50% and we have found that, in any event, the plants are more stimulated to work harder and therefore to produce more and to ripen earlier, which is a very important in that we can now harvest earlier, when there is less risk of heavy rain, fungus infestation and humidity.
These are two very, very important effects because reducing the amounts of Copper and Sulphur that we have to apply also means that the land is healthier, the underground water sources are healthier and grapes and resulting wines are also healthier, which is inevitable.
Instead, as I said earlier, the studies conducted by the University of Pisa concern the insects that inhabit vineyards. By placing various traps in the vines within the vineyards, both near and further away from the speakers, we have learned that the useful insects, namely the plant pollinators, stay in the vineyard anyway. The harmful insects instead disappear, particularly the American grapevine leafhopper, which is the cause of a very bad ailment known as flavescence dorée. But why does the music chase these insects away? Well, because the males and females of this species communicate by vibrating their bodies against the leaves, so the sound vibrations from our speakers confuse these insects, they can no longer recognise each other and the males can no longer find the females so they simply move away to a quieter places where they are once again able to communicate with each other. Thus we no longer have to treat the vines against this disease which means that the grape bunches are healthier and in return we get healthier and more natural wine.

Carlo Cignozzi: The closer the plant is to the speakers, the better. The more the music invades the vineyard with its packets of discreet sound energy and harmony, the better. Anyone who wants to can easily try this at home. It’s not necessary to call in any university or large international company. All you need is a bit of decent taste and sensitivity. Many women who come and visit my Vineyard say “I talk to my plants and I have a relationship with my plants”. I get what they’re saying. When plants feel an emotional attachment and waves of emotion nearby, they respond. Even more so when it comes to music.
I chose Mozart for one simple reason, namely that he is one of the greatest composers ever. Mozart’s music has Fibonacci frequencies. Fibonacci was a mathematician from Pisa who lived in the Middle Ages, and also a great botanist. He discovered that in nature there are numbers, sequences that relate to the number of leaves on a plant, petals on flowers and even stripes on certain animals. All that is geometrical and mathematical in nature relates to a series of frequencies, which we now call Fibonacci’s frequency and consists of two numbers. These two numbers added together give a third number, and so on. But what does this have to do with Mozart then? He was amazed by Fibonacci’s frequencies and translated these frequencies into his music. He was not the only composer to do that, there were indeed other composers too, but for me this was illuminating. So I said to myself: “Mozart was the composer of nature and, as such, let’s reward him and use his music, which also includes many soft frequencies. It is profound, discreet, elegant repetitive and geometric music. It is like a wave of wellbeing.

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Posted by: john buatti | May 17, 2014 05:59 PM


Financial Time

Corruption claims appear normal for Italian business and politics

By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Former politicians held over Expo 2015 were jailed in 1990s

Some things never change in Italy, the headlines say. More than 20 years after Milan’s “clean hands” magistrates toppled the postwar order by exposing a corrupt nexus of business and politics, ______prime minister Matteo Renzi is struggling to contain the fallout from similar investigations._______

Probes have focused on about €180m in building contracts awarded for Milan’s Expo 2015, a showcase event to be attended by 147 nations and international organisations. Also under scrutiny are hundreds of millions of euros in public sector contracts involving the region of Lombardy and a state-owned company called Sogin that is dealing with decommissioned nuclear power stations and their waste.

Those arrested on suspicion of corruption last week include the senior manager in charge of Expo 2015 construction contracts, and two former politicians allegedly acting as middlemen for businesses. Both had been jailed during the tangentopoli (bribesville) scandals of the early 1990s.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 02:53 PM


The link for this article (below) may not work- use this one

Schulz clashes with MEPs over OLAF criticism
By Toby Vogel -


Opening session of Parliament plenary hears allegations of ‘mismanagement' and ‘censorship' concerning the president's handling of an anti-fraud investigation....more below

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 02:49 PM

May 9, 2014

Arrests, corruption probe, cast cloud over Italy's Expo 2015

(Reuters) - The arrest of seven managers and ex-members of parliament over alleged attempts to influence public tenders for Milan's Expo 2015 has cast a shadow over Italy's plans to stage an international showcase event and help kick-start the economy.

It also risks damaging Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's attempts to inject confidence into the political system and counter anti-party populism in Italy ahead of European Parliament elections later this month.

Expo 2015 Chief Executive Stefano Sala is meeting Renzi on Tuesday to discuss the economic and political repercussions of the investigation.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 02:30 PM

Global Tax Topical Feature
By Editorial
May 8, 2014

Italy: Productivity Tax Incentive Extended, But ‘Token’ Tax Break Snubbed

A recently gazetted decree in Italy has confirmed an extension, into 2014, for the reduced income tax rate for employees' earnings arising out of work arrangements that improve corporate productivity.

The reduced 10 percent individual income tax, which was originally introduced in July 2008 to stimulate increased productivity in the private corporate sector, was amended and extended into 2014 by this year's Italian Budget.

However, Centro Studi CAN, the national federation of Italian artisans and small and medium-sized enterprises, has said the decision by Premier Matteo Renzi's Government to reduce the regional tax on production by 10 percent will merely provide an "aspirin" to its members.

CAN has calculated that the reduction in the basic rate of IRAP from 3.9 percent to 3.5 percent will reduce the annual Italian total tax rate on small firms by only 0.6 percent – from 63.8 percent to 63.2 percent.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 02:13 PM


Berlusoni was paying 80 euros a kilo for green beans –

Francesca Pascale has wasted no time in shaking things up at Palazzo Grazioli, the mansion that she now shares with the 77-year-old former prime minister in Rome.

Miss Pascale, a former shop assistant from Naples, revealed in an interview that she has had to initiate a “spending review” of her septuagenarian’s household after discovering he was paying 80 euros a kilo for green beans – around 16 times the going rate.

“They were being charged 80 euros a kilo for beans, can you imagine?” she told Oggi, an Italian magazine.

She also said that that Berlusoni, a self-made billionaire who prides himself on his business acumen, has his caterers purchasing huge quantities of expensive fresh fish – despite the fact that he cannot stand the stuff.

“Huge crates of fish were arriving, even though they all know not only that he doesn’t eat fish, but he hates the smell when it is being cooked,” Miss Pascale said.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 01:59 PM



EU-Streit um Stalin-Vergleich

Mega-Zoff zwischen Beppe Grillo und Martin Schulz
(EU dispute over Stalin Comparison mega trouble between Beppe Grillo and Martin Schulz)

What empowers Schulz? After the controversial Stalin-comparison of the EU leading candidates ex-comedian strikes back with Nazi subject Beppe Grillo

translation of the German article

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 10:21 AM

Opinion: Schulz vs. Juncker - opponents or allies?

Europe's top candidates tried their best to attack during a TV debate. But Luxembourg's former Prime Minister Juncker and the president of EU parliament, Martin Schulz, have a lot in common, writes Christoph Hasselbach.

The two candidates initially did point out their political differences, for example when asked whether tax competition in the EU is a good thing (Jean-Claude Juncker) or a bad thing (Martin Schulz).

And still - it was not a proper duel, at least not a duel in the sense of Juncker vs. Schulz, or Conservative EU policymaking vs. the ideals of the European Socialists. The two opponents simply agreed on too many basic things. Actually, Juncker and Schulz came across a bit like secret allies on a mission to defend the European project.

And they have common (invisible) opponents: citizens' lack of interest in the election as well as right-wing and left-wing populism.

The idea doesn't work

Only election night will show whether these (invisible) opponents can be defeated. The idea behind appointing top candidates was to turn the traditionally drab European election campaign into a livelier and more personalized event - and to make it more pan-European. Just as for Conservatives and socialists, there are top candidates for the Liberals, the Greens and the Left. They are touring Europe at the moment and meet each other occasionally at debates like the one in Berlin between Schulz and Juncker.

But as good as the idea sounds in theory - it does not work. That's because the EU doesn't have a common general public, largely because of the many different languages spoken in Europe.

Translated debates are boring

The debate in Berlin was held in German. Juncker, who is from Luxembourg, speaks German fluently. And still, Martin Schulz from Germany did seem to have a slight rhetoric advantage on Thursday. Were they to meet in front of a French-speaking audience, it would probably be Juncker who would outdo his rival rhetorically. If the other candidates had joined the debate in Berlin, it would have had to have been held in English. That would probably have added teeth to the debate, as regards content.

But the translations required for a German-speaking audience would have instantly put out the rhetorical flame. Few people are willing to watch something of the kind. That's probably why the management at public TV channels ZDF (Germany) and ORF (Austria) decided to invite just Schulz and Juncker.

Voters not familiar with candidates

Language issues are not the only challenge. Schulz seemed more popular with the audience simply because he is from Germany. Then again, many people still don't know who he is - not even in Germany.

Juncker, who calls the small country of Luxembourg his home, has even less of a home field advantage anywhere else in Europe. People do tend to know him in Luxembourg and in Belgium. But outside of those two countries, anybody not particularly interested in European politics will hardly know who Jean-Claude Juncker is.

Part of the system

And the top candidates are facing yet another dilemma in their attempt to create enthusiasm for the European elections with skeptical or disinterested citizens.

Juncker and Schulz have been integral parts of the system for years, Juncker as a member of the Council of member states and Schulz as a member of European Parliament. They will hardly reach anybody who already mistrusts the European institutions. While you can attribute a bit of a fresh air to Schulz, who has been campaigning for a stronger Parliament, he doesn't exactly stand for any groundbreaking novelties. Juncker, meanwhile, is the embodiment of the status quo.

Judging from the expected majorities in the parliament, it looks as though one of the two will become Commission President. But not even that is guaranteed. It's not clear whether the heads of state and government will actually appoint the top candidate of the strongest party. It would be a betrayal of voters if they don't, say the contenders. Juncker and Schulz have told the voters that the current elections are also about electing the new Commission President. If this promise is not fulfilled, the two men say it would usher in an era of institutional crisis for the EU - and this fear is yet another thing the two duelists are united in.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 09:54 AM

May 12, 2014

On his blog, the Italian politician Beppe Grillo Martin Schulz derided as whip wielding Germans. The CSU sees it differently (referring to the picture taken from Grillo's blog )

Martin Schulz - accused of being a Nazi, disguised as a German

Sorry for the google translation but I don't know German.

"Only one in three people interested in the election on May 25, only one in five has ever heard of Schulz. However, the working hard to work up this deficit. In the highest frequency he rattles off dates, drumming for the SPD, but above all for themselves. Finally wants Martin Schulz, former mayor of Würselen be President in Brussels.[...]

German original article

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 09:52 AM

May 12, 2014

On his blog, the Italian politician Beppe Grillo Martin Schulz derided as whip wielding Germans. The CSU sees it differently (referring to the picture taken from Grillo's blog )

Martin Schulz - accused of being a Nazi, disguised as a German

Sorry for the google translation but I don't know German.

"Only one in three people interested in the election on May 25, only one in five has ever heard of Schulz. However, the working hard to work up this deficit. In the highest frequency he rattles off dates, drumming for the SPD, but above all for themselves. Finally wants Martin Schulz, former mayor of Würselen be President in Brussels.[...]

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 09:50 AM


Schulz clashes with MEPs over OLAF criticism
By Toby Vogel -


Opening session of Parliament plenary hears allegations of ‘mismanagement' and ‘censorship' concerning the president's handling of an anti-fraud investigation.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has defended his decision not to let MEPs vote on a passage added to a report on the Parliament's spending in 2012 that was critical of his handling of an investigation by the European Union's anti-fraud office, OLAF. The investigation into corruption allegations resulted in John Dalli's resignation as European commissioner.

Michael Theurer, a German liberal who chairs the Parliament's budgetary-control committee, accused Schulz of “censorship” and of “disregard for the Parliament” during the opening session of this week's plenary in Strasbourg today (14 April). Theurer said the committee might take the case to the European Court of Justice because it did not believe that Schulz had the legal power to rule the passage inadmissible.

Ingeborg Grässle, a centre-right German on the committee, had added to the report language criticising Schulz's management of the Dalli affair and an alleged bid to place officials from his private office in civil-service posts. Grässle alleges that Schulz withheld relevant information from the OLAF investigation from MEPs.

Her additions were approved by the committee as part of the report, which was scheduled to be adopted at the first plenary session this month. But when Schulz ruled the passage about OLAF to be inadmissible, MEPs at the first April plenary delayed the vote to this session. It is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday (16 April) during a noon session.

Schulz did not try to remove from the vote amendments that censure him for allegedly placing close aides in permanent civil-service posts and for failing to distinguish his activities as president from those of a political candidate in next month's elections to the Parliament.

Schulz said that his decision concerning the OLAF report as well as his decision to rule Grässle's amendment inadmissible had been backed by the conference of presidents, a meeting of the leaders of the political groups in the Parliament. Grässle claimed during today's session that the conference had been manipulated in giving its backing.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 08:38 AM



Schulz attacked over political appointments

Green MEPs have rallied against appointments in the European Parliament administration involving its president, Martin Schulz, in the run-up to the EU elections, in which he is a candidate for the Commission presidency.

The Green faction in Parliament protested against a number of of high-ranking appointees in the EU Parliament administration that were approved by the EU Parliament bureau late on Monday (14 April), claiming they were politically motivated.

“In bulldozing through the appointments of his aides to high-ranking posts in the Parliament’s administration […] Martin Schulz has demonstrated a disdain for this house and the democratic process,” Belgian MEP and Green transparency spokesperson Bart Staes said in a statement.

Earlier, a majority of MEPs had criticised the appointments, saying the Parliament president had outpaced MEPs in reforming the procedure for such decisions.

Schulz’ cabinet confirmed that the appointments agreed on Monday included 7 persons close to the centre-right EPP, 3 to the socialist S&D, 2 to the liberal ALDE, 1 to the conservative ECR group and 1 to the Greens. The Greens, however, contest this information (see positions below).

In his statement, Staes said: “Political nominations by the two largest groups have gotten out of hand […] There is an urgent need to properly reform the process of recruiting positions in the administration.”

Controversy over Schulz campaign

As the campaign for the May EU elections moves up a gear, Schulz faces fierce criticism for combining his Parliament president role with that of a campaign figurehead for the socialist PES party.

In the April plenary session, members of the European Parliament called on Schulz to resign, requesting the president leaves office to take on his campaign for EU Commission presidency. MEPs also requested information on how Schulz will separate his duties as Parliament president from his political tour across Europe to campaign for the EU executive’s lead role.

On Wednesday (16 April), MEPs are expected to repeat their call for him to step down, in a paragraph added to a resolution on the EU budget discharge.

So far, Schulz’ entourage declined to comment on whether the president should step down, stating that Schulz “is president of the EP until 1 July 2014”.

Earlier, Schulz was scorned because he transformed his European Parliament President Twitter account with some 80,000 followers into a campaign account, and opened a second Parliament President account where he has only gathered some 4,000 followers so far.

EU campaign tour opens on Friday

With less than six weeks to go before polls open across EU member states, the German socialist is in full campaign mode. After this week’s plenary session, he is set to kick-start his grand tour across Europe at an event in Paris.

Martin Schulz is still fulfilling his duties as Parliament president during the tour, his campaign team admitted. The German socialist will represent the EU Parliament on a trip to Italy on 24 April, in Slovakia on 30 April and in Germany on 8 May, just hours before appearing in an election debate on German television.

Julian Priestley, who manages Schulz’ election campaign, said “there will be a clear distinction between his activities, the costs and resources” as Parliament president, and those incurred as the PES EU election candidate.

His main contender to get the EU Commission presidency is Jean-Claude Juncker, who travels to Helsinki and Riga this week. Other party figureheads for the EU election include Guy Verhofstadt (liberals), José Bové and Ska Keller (Greens) and Alexis Tsipras (Left).

[Update: 16/4, 12:30] Belgian MEP and transparency spokesperson for the Greens group, Bart Staes, reacted to Schulz' cabinet's statements in the article, saying: "Martin Schulz is distorting the debate by saying one appointment is linked to The Greens group. Our own secretary-general informed me he has no knowledge of any links between an appointee and our group. The president should let us know who this one person is - we are simply baffled by this claim."

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 08:35 AM



MEPs upset over Schulz's double role as president and candidate

Power struggle looms after EU vote

In just over three week's time the European elections will be over but a new process will have just begun – an immense power struggle between the EU institutions.

A majority of MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday (16 April) said Martin Schulz must explain how he is able to run a campaign and fulfil his role as European Parliament President at the same time.

The outgoing leader was already under fire after he censored a paragraph critical of his stewardship in the budgetary control committee's discharge report earlier this month.

But MEPs on Wednesday in an article in the report are asking the centre-left chief to clarify the separation of tasks in his bid to become the next president of the European Commission.

A large majority of 365 MEPs with only 190 against (and 82 abstentions) then approved the report.

Internal parliament rules require that the office of the parliament president be "politically neutral".

But the report suggests Schulz may be using parliament money to foot the bill of his campaign, which includes travel expenses and salaries of staff in his cabinet and in the parliament's information offices.

The article notes that "no distinction has been made between the two roles; calls for clear segregation of office holders' functions, following the Commission's approach, so that Union taxpayers do not have to pay for the election campaigns of European list leaders".

German centre-right Ingeborg Grassle, who is the group's co-ordinator in the budgetary control committee, is asking him to resign as parliament chief.

"Martin Schulz must get off the pitch and lay down his office in order not to confuse the role of politically neutral parliament president with that of lead candidate of the European Socialist Party," she said in a statement.
Going to court

German Liberal Michael Theurer, who chairs the budgetary control committee, told this website he would not rule out taking Schulz to the EU's top court in Luxembourg.

The committee's vice-chair, Green MEP Bart Staes, said he would back Theurer.

The threat was already announced Monday, when Theurer challenged Schulz at the opening of the plenary.

Meanwhile, Theurer told the plenary the President does not have the legal right to remove a paragraph from the committee report that accused him of obstructing the committee's work.

The deleted paragraph notes members of the committee had been invited by the Belgian court to stand witness in a case involving the former Maltese commissioner for health, John Dalli. Schulz withheld the invitation for several months.

He also postponed committee hearings on the case, which involves accusations against senior officials at the European Commission.

Schulz struck back.

He pointed out other critical amendments about his role in the report have not been removed.

"I get the feeling that maybe you are wrong about this as well because the amendments referring to me have been accepted," he told Theurer.

He said the decision to remove the paragraph on Dalli was taken by the party group leaders in the so-called Conference of Presidents.

"These are on-going proceedings, proceedings that the Maltese state has opened against a commissioner of the European Union," he said.

In a letter sent last week to Theurer, Schulz also noted that the Dalli case took place in 2013, while the discharge report is for 2012.

Theurer, for his part, said the Dalli case dates back to the end of the 2012.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 08:27 AM

8 May 2014

UK left out of campaign for EU's top job

Socialist Martin Schulz is not including the UK on his campaign itinerary

The candidates debate in English. Their press conferences are in English. Their entourages spin speeches in English. But England (as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) barely features in their campaign battle plans.

While the five contenders hoping to be the next European Commission president munch up road and air miles campaigning across Europe the UK is ignored, written out of the script. An omission that says a lot.

A quick recap: With two weeks to go until the European elections, the contest to run the EU Commission is heating up - from a frosty start. These are the people picked by the party groups in the European Parliament to be their nomination for EU Commission President - the most important job in Brussels.

Based on their reading of the Lisbon Treaty, MEPs believe they now have the right to pick the next president. That's why we're seeing this contest. For the first time the main party groups have picked one candidate to be the figurehead of their election campaigns. They say the candidate of the group with the most MEPs after the election will become the next Commission president.

But you won't see them on the stump in the UK. Martin Schulz, the centre-left's candidate and current president of the European Parliament, bluntly told a press conference on Wednesday: "I will not go to the UK to campaign".

He did pop to Belfast for a day last month to meet the moderate nationalist SDLP, but that's it.

Even though the Labour Party are part of Mr Schulz's group he won't be seen clasping hands with party leader Ed Miliband in a town centre near you.

Posted by: john buatti | May 13, 2014 08:21 AM

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