Friday, June 01, 2007

What a shame

One can only offer a wry smile, but no sympathy at all, on reading a Reuters' report on a recent Eurobarometer report on the attitudes of young "Europeans" to the EU.

Headlined, "Young Europeans see EU as waste of time", it tells us that many of these mythical creatures are unhappy with the European Union and some believe it will soon cease to exist. Furthermore, we are told, "40 per cent of young adults state that it (EU) means an excess of bureaucracy and a waste of time and money," and just over a third of people aged between 15-30 see the EU as a threat to cultural identity and diversity, the poll said.

The short report then concludes that, when looking forward ten years, 13 percent believe the EU will no longer exist, while almost 40 percent said the EU will have more social problems such as unemployment and strikes.

What is really interesting though – not reported by Reuters - is a finding that respondents in the 12 new member states appear more likely to evaluate positively the EU's future, while respondents in the EU15 are characterised by seeing its future in a more negative way. The longer you have been in the EU, it seems, the less you like it.

Looking at the full report (141 pages) or the summary, however, one sees that the main findings are that 90 percent of respondents report that, for them personally, the EU represents the freedom to travel, study and work anywhere in the Union. A plurality of them also underline the fact that its existence represents a way to protect the rights of citizens (72 percent) and a means of improving the EU's economic situation (71 percent). More than half of the respondents (56 percent) feel that the EU is equivalent to a European government.

In other words, Reuters present an unremittingly negative view of the report, which in no way reflects the tenor of the contents.

What a terrible shame ... there ought to be a law about it.


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