Friday, June 01, 2007

Dialogue … but only if you agree with us

With all that is going on in the world, it is somewhat comforting to see that the EU commission is running to form, talking about the only thing that really interests it – itself.

More particularly, following the trouncing by the Dutch and the French over the EU constitution, it is still harbouring a sense of wounded grievance about being unloved. And, to that effect, following the fragrant one's brainstorm (more storm than brain) about "Plan D for Democracy", the commission has laboured long and hard to produce another paper on "communication".

Entitled, "A Citizen’s Agenda for Communicating Europe", it aims to bring citizens closer to Europe by encouraging them to participate in shaping EU policies. It seeks "to empower citizens to voice their opinions" and provide them with "relevant information on the functioning of the EU and its policies at all levels".

Drafted by the fragrant Margot Wallström, we are told that the paper states the importance of making access to EU information "a basic individual right" with debates placed in "a national, regional and local context" and made available to citizens "in the language of their choice". In doing so, the commission hopes to help create a long sought-after "European public sphere".

By this means, our Margot wants to "strengthen dialogue" at all levels – national, regional, local. And to do so, she plans to establish management partnerships as "the main tool for joint initiatives between the EU and member states" on communication policy.

You will also be pleased to know that any communication set up under the partnership would ensure "representation of diverse views" in the debate and facilitate linkage with national political agendas, including national elections in order to "facilitate better adaptation of communication to local circumstances".

The trouble is that, in trying to tell us with increasing stridency, that our opinions count, the one opinion it takes absolutely no notice of is the one most ardently expressed by this blog – that the commission and all its fellow travellers should (at the very least) pack up their bags and go away. Diverse views, therefore, are the last thing Margot wants.

Thus is seems that our opinions count, but only as long as we agree with the commission and accept the agenda which it defines. That, of course, is why they will always have communication problems. They are offering a message which we simply do not want to hear.


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