The EU and Democracy do not match

Over 'The EU Propaganda Machine'

The European Union is becoming an ever bigger colossus, one in fact that can hardly be legally assigned to constitutional law, but resembles a late-medieval feudal state, or a state like Saudi Arabia, more than a democracy. To determine what is part of the au­tocratic wolf and what belongs to the sur­rounding democratic sheepskins, is the task of constitutional and public law experts. This is a task they have to face. Already in the opening passage of his book Die Europa­falle (The Europe Trap), Hans-Peter Martin refers to this state of affairs. That the deceit is being veiled by a propaganda campaign fits the character of this construct.
Excerpt from the book: 'Each founding father of a Western democ­racy must feel betrayed in view of the actu­al state of affairs in the European Union. In Brussels and Copenhagen the uneasiness is rising, as well.'

But instead of taking on the challenge of correcting the EU's construction faults, its drawbacks and problems are being covered up. Propaganda instead of principal reform is the motto. And at the centre we find Mar­got Wallström, the Swedish EU-Commis­sioner for Communication. Before the EU-parliamentary elections in June 2009, she warned Hans-Gert Pöttering, the then act­ing President of Parliament, in a personal let­ter: 'The legitimacy of your parliament and that of the entire European Union is at risk.' The formula she offered: an unprecedented media offensive. 'Through our contacts we are going to request radio and television sta­tions to broadcast more EU programmes and subjects', said Wallström. (1) The representa­tives of the EU Commission were going to 'design their communication activities ac­cordingly'. The budget for this campaign amounts to 17 million euro. At the end of her letter, the vice-president of the EU Com­mission is reassuring the highest representa­tive of the EU parliament: 'As you may well see, our envisaged actions are substantial.'

The promotion of TV reporting on the Eu­ropean Union was already put out for tender, and there we can read how this is supposed to take place. When applying, the broadcast­ers do not only have to state 'name, tasks and language skills of the respective person­nel, journalists in particular', but must also describe their broadcasting philosophy and also have to sign on 'broadcasting European programmes regularly and at prime times'. (2) When the plans became known in 2008, the feuilleton of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung entitled its article The European Union Buys News Coverage. The subtitle read: Amazingly enough and almost unbe­lievably, the European Union pays for con­venient reports (3).

But within Brussels' political circles hard­ly anyone is responsive to such criticism. Rather one moves up a gear: Apart from Wallström's money, the European Parlia­ment had at first made an allowance of 11.3 million euro in the official budget for an 'in­formation and communication campaign' round about the 2009 European elections. But at the end the amount was doubled to more than 23.3 million euro (4), although per­forming and financing these elections is the business of the national states. Also the fi­nancial means of the fractions 'for informa­tion activities performed in connection with the European elections' were quietly raised by 11 per cent to 56.7 million before the end of the year (5). The trick that was used is the following: the increase is done by so-called 'transfers of funds' which must be approved of by the president of the budg­etary commission and does not need to be dealt with in the plenary session. That is why hardly anyone takes notice of it. All this is part of a cleverly thought-up prop­aganda strategy, which helps to present the European Union in a much brighter light than fits its political reality. Thus, 'some media such as the Financial Times bene­fit from privileged access to the European Commission, and are in turn purposefully used for the launching of exclusive news be­fore the publication of reports', describes a longstanding ambassador to the Europe­an Union a Brussels custom (6). 'If anyone added up all financial means which are in­vested into EU-propaganda, he would arrive at horrific sums.'


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