The Future of Europe

The European Commission has published its report on the results of a survey requested and co-ordinated by the European Commission’s and European Parliament’s Directorates-General for Communication.

The full report can be downloaded from [1]:

Earlier we commented at some length on the preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe, so we can be quite brief here [2]

The survey, and its conclusions, are based on two assumptions, both of which we have consistently challenged since we started this blog, before the UK referendum on Brexit in June 2016.

The first assumption is that the EU is the same as Europe—there are 44 countries in Europe, 27 of which remain in the EU. The title of the exercise for which this survey was undertaken is the Future of Europe [3].

The second assumption is that the foundations of the EU (for example, Ever Closer Union) will remain unchallenged [4].

These assumptions vitiate the report – and the exercise of which it is a part; clearly the first assumption is simply wrong (though it serves its propaganda purpose), and the second confirms that leaders of the Union do not intend that citizens will be able to challenge the foundations of the project. When UK citizens wanted to challenge them their only option was to leave entirely (and be damned for it).

A quick look at the report confirms that it shows merely that EU propaganda is effective in persuading many of its citizens that it practices what it says it does [5]

From the press release:

The Conference on the Future of Europe…will create a new public forum for an open, inclusive, transparent and structured debate with Europeans around the issues that matter to them and affect their everyday lives.”

The organisers of the survey have chosen “the issues that matter”, so the results do not surprise us.

From the report:

This Special Eurobarometer is however different from previous surveys in the FoE series, as it is an inter-institutional survey conducted jointly for the European Commission and the European Parliament. Its questionnaire contains questions from both institutions.”

The aim of this survey was to measure the opinions of Europeans, in the EU as a whole and in each Member State, on political participation and democracy, their level of interest in participating in the Conference on the future of Europe, the future of Europe and the EU, and the role of the EU in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.”

Question: “In general does the EU conjure up for you a very positive, fairly positive, neutral, fairly negative or very negative image?”

Their conclusion: “Almost half of Europeans hold a positive image of the EU, and citizens are more likely to give a positive than a negative response in all EU Member States”.

Our conclusion: We would like to know why more than half of those surveyed do not hold a positive image of the EU.

Question: “In the past six months, would you say that this image you have of the EU improved, got worse or stayed about the same?”

Their conclusion: “Six in ten Europeans have not changed their opinion of the EU in the last six months. Among those whose perception has changed, respondents are more likely to say their image has got worse than better and this is reflected across most Member States”.

Our conclusion: Perhaps the propaganda value of this and other EU exercises is not as beneficial to the EU as its leaders and supporters would wish.

Question: “Please tell me to what extent you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. EU citizens’ voice should be more taken into account for decisions relating to the future of Europe”.

Their conclusion: “There is very strong support for EU citizens to have more of a voice in decisions relating to the future of Europe and this is reflected across all Member States”.

Our conclusion: EU leaders avoid the obvious follow-up question, which would ask why such a strong majority (92%) do not feel that they have enough of a voice. They must focus on practical issues concerning delivery on promises, since ordinary citizens won’t be allowed to question the foundations.

Question: “Which of the following do you think are the best ways of ensuring your voice is heard by decision-makers at EU level?”

Their conclusion: “Europeans consider voting in European elections as the most effective way of ensuring their voices are heard at EU level…”.

Our conclusion has long been that the value of the European Parliament is as a fig leaf to cover the absence of real democracy in the EU [6]. Low turnouts for elections to the Parliament shed an unflattering light on the claim that Europeans consider this is the best way of getting their voices heard, perhaps they want referendums – God forbid!

Question: “In your opinion, what are the main assets of the EU?”

Their conclusion “Europeans consider that the EU’s respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law [32%] as well as its economic, industrial and trading power [30%] are EU main assets”.

Other assets considered relatively important to Europeans include the standard of living of EU citizens (23%), the good relationship and solidarity between the EU’s Member States (23%), the EU’s ability to promote peace and democracy outside its borders (18%)…” (Is that even lukewarm?)

Our conclusion: The first part of their conclusion shows, if anything, that their propaganda is effective, at least among those who agreed to participate in the survey. And the second part shows how the propaganda works, by claiming (repeatedly) that these effects exist and are outcomes of EU activities. The whole seems an unflattering response from citizens, which we can be sure the Commission will work hard to rectify—with more propaganda rather than action, of course

It is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_1025

[2] We Need to Talk About EU

[3] Foundations, Governance & EU=Europe

[4] Paved With Good Intentions OR What About the Treaties?

[5] Goals and Values

[6] Parliament Pontificates

If you wish to participate in the Conference on the Future of Europe, you can do so here:

[7] https://futureu.europa.eu/?locale=en

And if, for balance, you wish to learn more of what the EU says of itself in the context of its citizens, you might visit this EU site, which we would regard as mostly propaganda, designed to persuade rather than to inform:

[8] https://www.what-europe-does-for-me.eu/en/portal


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