Saturday, October 25, 2008

They never learn

With a straight face the BBC reports:
The European Commission is stepping up efforts to get its message across to Irish voters and other EU citizens ahead of European elections next June.

The commission, stung by the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, plans to form a partnership with the Republic of Ireland to raise public awareness.

The "management partnership" involves explaining EU goals and policies in plain language to ordinary citizens.
Are these people listening to themselves? I mean really listening?

The EU makes it clear that they wish to ignore the results that a freely and fairly run referendum (give or take EU money) produced and then it says that they want to "raise public awareness" ahead of the European elections. Surely, what really bothers them is too much public awareness. Then again, that phrase has become code for "they wish to ensure that more people vote the way they are told to or stay at home and not bother us".

Meanwhile the House of Lords European Union Committee has produced one of its excellent reports on "The Commission's Annual Policy Strategy for 2009". I shall blog on it in more detail as soon as I have read it right through. Let me, however, quote Paragraph 1 of the Introduction:
What is the Commission's Annual Policy Strategy?

1. The Annual Policy Strategy is one of the two key strategic planning documents published by the European Commission each year. The Annual Policy Strategy (or APS) published in the spring sets out the Commission's priorities for the following year, and forms the basis for discussion within the EU institutions and beyond. This discussion is intended to influence the Commission's Annual Legislative and Work Programme, published in the autumn, which fleshes out those priorities and sets out detailed plans for the year ahead.
Let us not forget that the Commission is the sole initiator of EU legislation, which then takes a long journey through the various institutions such as the Council and the Parliament with possible negotiations between representatives of member states being done behind the scenes. Once it gets to a national parliament it cannot be thrown out. At no time during that journey are the people consulted though the odd organization that is part of the EU controlled and often financed "civil society" may well have an input according to its own agenda.

I am only guessing, of course, but could that be the real reason for voter apathy?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can't have it both ways:

"They decided that the document [Lisbon Treaty] should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception. Where they got this perception from is a mystery to me. In order to make our citizens happy, to produce a document that they will never understand! But, there is some truth [in it]. Because if this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any Prime Minister - imagine the UK Prime Minister - can go to the Commons and say 'Look, you see, it's absolutely unreadable, it's the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum.' Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new."

- Giuliano Amato, Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution, London, 12 July 2007

"We cannot treat the Irish 'no' as merely a national issue or only a Treaty ratification problem. The difficulties encountered in explaining to citizens the rationale of the Lisbon Treaty and in clarifying that the EU needs to be equipped for today's and tomorrow's challenges are difficulties which we encounter across the Union."

- Internal memorandum written by Margot Wallstrom, Communications Commissar, Brussels, October 2008