Commissioner Margot Wallström is due to release her White Paper on EU Communications at the start of January, and – surprise, surprise – the whole thing is getting quite messy and complex. This line in an article in European Voice is illustrative of the problems that Wallström is facing:
During a first discussion of the paper last week (12 January) among commissioners’ representatives, several speakers criticised the tone of the White Paper as “exaggeratedly self- critical”. Others complained of the use of “Eurospeak” in the paper. And others questioned the frequent use of the word “democracy” in a paper focused on communication.
How can any communications policy possibly work unless democracy in the European Union is improved? Firstly, if you just tell citizens what the EU is doing they think they are being brainwashed, and if you try to listen to the citizens, but without proper democratic decision making structures, how is what the citizens say supposed to be fed back? Secondly, politicians only ever really go out and communicate with the people if there are elections to win – it’s in their own selfish interests to communicate. So if you make European Parliament elections interesting by giving the EP the power to select the Commission President, set the level of an EU tax, co-decide on all areas of legislation and hence really set the direction of European integration, you be a long way towards dealing with the communications problem.