Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Not enough "Europe"

"Why speak about Europe? Because the history of the nations is finished, and the history of Europe has hardly started. National, economic, commercial sovereignty like financial and, even if it is defended by some, military sovereignty are finished. Their rejection is final, irreversible, and it is so much better."

This is from Philippe Cayla, CEO of the television channel EuroNews, "Europe's news channel covering world news from a European perspective in a choice of seven languages," writing in Le Monde (pictured recently with the fragrant one).

He is complaining that the European Union does not get enough news coverage, declaring that "Brussels is a ghetto, assailed from all sides by nations, by national political classes and above all by national media".

"National media don't want anything to do with Europe," he adds. "Europe poses a threat their intellectual comfort and their status. It bothers the way they consider their daily task which, according to them, is to confirm each country's impression that they are the greatest, the most beautiful, the strongest, the most pleasant…".

Continuing with his theme, he asks (rhetorically, of course), "How can the EU's leaders be given a media profile by Europe's different communities if they remain invisible and unheard? Such a profile, whether we like it or not, is indispensable not only for public recognition, but also for European citizens to be able to identify with their leaders."

The problem, as Cayla sees it is that coverage by the national media of Europe is insufficient. It hardly represents more than five or ten percent of television news, sometimes less than the coverage given to American affairs, and even less that the coverage of European affairs by certain non European media.

This "skimped information", he says, does not make it possible to understand what is happening to our immediate neighbours, while the public are not able to keep abreast of what is decided in Brussels. And, if they do not see the EU leaders, if they do not hear them, how do they identify with these leaders? "Without European persons in charge clearly known and recognised" there is no possibility of creating a European identity.

There you have the authentic Europhiliac speaking, but he does have a point. The coverage of EU affairs is dismal, and we share his complaint – most recently here and here. But, while Cayla thinks that better coverage would lead to the development of a European identity, we believe otherwise. Only once our population realises the extent to which our supreme government runs our affairs will opposition to the Union really take root.

But, as long as the media lives in its twilight world, ignoring the reality of where our government really lies, "Europe" will always remain a marginal concern.

Photo: EU Commission 2007.


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