Sunday 7 February 2010

Communicating Europe

I've written a short essay (1,500 words) on the Commission's communication strategy over the last 5 years and where it should go next. You can read it here. I personally think that the parties in the EP need to take on the task of communicating themselves and their European visions more clearly - I think that a more adversarial form of politics would help communicate what different parties stand for, encourage participation and, as a result, people would become more familiar with how the EU works in a general sense (after all, the general public isn't really interested in the detail of how national legislatures work). Of course, interest and partcipation can only ever be encouraged to a certain extent as the EU's very technical, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

So I think that the Commission is limited in what it can do, but if it becomes more political, and the Commissioners engage more in the mainstream mass media, then it will provoke some reaction and interest. Risks need to be taken by backing plans more publicly, though they may fail in Council or in the EP.

In the essay, I take a very general approach, since it's short, and since I think that the Commission can only act to encourage participation and interest, and that it remains dependent on other actors to a degree to achieve higher levels of interest.


  1. Eurocentric,

    Congratulations for your prize-winning essay. It is a well balanced assessment of issues at stake, so a fine recommendation for your life after your exams.

    I agree with you on the need for the Commission to become more active. The first Barroso Commission was generally seen as weak and subservient to state interests, especially the largest member states.

    The second Barroso Commission, officially appointed from today, has the option to take a leadership role based on its right of initiative. This is one aspect of political, although not necessarily party political, but a more bold promotion of common European interests.

    It remains to be seen if Barroso Mark II will be more assertive than the first edition.

    On the "factory floor", something I have sometimes called for, and said for instance by blogger Eurosocialist a day or two ago, is that broadcasting isn't enough; the Commission has to engage with citizens.

    I don't see a Facebook or Twitter account as a magic formula to become a Commission 2.0. Rather, what is needed is for the Commission's communicators to start taking part in discussions where they happen - comments on newspaper columns, blogs, discussion forums - where the most horrid falsehoods and distortions have been able to grow and prosper on a lethal formula of hate and disregard for truth.

    If I remember correctly, blogger Tagsmanian Devil has expressed similar thoughts about where the challenges are located.

  2. Thanks! And thanks for pointing me towards Tagsmanian Devil's articles.