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 Communicating the EU?

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PostSubject: Communicating the EU?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:58 pm

What EU issues do you think are badly explained or communicated - or indeed not communicated at all?
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:12 pm

Was that really wise, ibis?



The message that is the EU is badly communicated and has been since the Coal and Steel days when something small and local morphed into something enormous, unwieldy and besserwisser than the rest of us while we weren't watching.

It will never be able to communicate its message to the people because it went to boarding school to grow up and knows nobody in the locality.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:38 pm

Kate P wrote:
Was that really wise, ibis?



The message that is the EU is badly communicated and has been since the Coal and Steel days when something small and local morphed into something enormous, unwieldy and besserwisser than the rest of us while we weren't watching.

It will never be able to communicate its message to the people because it went to boarding school to grow up and knows nobody in the locality.

Funnily enough you've described me on entering UCD...yes, I am hoping to open the floodgates. If I wanted to open the sewage pipes, of course, I'd ask elsewhere...

It's a good answer, though. Tends to attract a very technical explanation, which may not be all that much use...hmm.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:40 pm

It must be the day that's in it, but I thought the thread was called
"Communicating the Flu" when I first saw it. Sick
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:49 am

Where it's going, why it's going there and how it intends to get there. There's no roadmap.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:00 am

Hermes wrote:
Where it's going, why it's going there and how it intends to get there. There's no roadmap.
I'll reiterate that please. It seems formless but am I supposed to be getting a warm and friendly feeling from us being in the EU ? Because I kind of am.

I'd kind of understand, as I understand, that our legal and environmental mechanisms somehow or somewhere get bolted onto those of the EU at large so there is something of harmony at some level in there between all the different cultures - perhaps it's protecting a bird or plant species. This seems to be the least politically awkward level we can try to find agreement on but there must be plenty of attempts at harmonising the other sectors like health and education, social welfare etc. Information on these is sorely lacking in the press unless I just don't happen to read it.

What I suppose I'm saying is that it might be nice if there was a regular mechanism in politics say every month where you'd know that some directive is being debated. How and where this information is presented and communicated is another box of knots though but I think it could be useful.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:00 am

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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:04 am

toxic avenger wrote:

Well, we have that one already. Thanks anyway.
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PostSubject: I'm keeping copyright on this one!   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:26 am

EUtopia - it's just one more vote away.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:36 am

Helium Three wrote:
EUtopia - it's just one more vote away.

Sigh. Well, if you work up something to contribute, the thread will be here.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:46 am

Don't mind them Hecklers.

I'm not sure if the EU has a massive hidden agenda or something but perhaps it could be a real force for good in the world ???? What's wrong with breaking our balls over planting more forests for example ? I think our balls should definitely be in the vice over some things - clean water, air, energy security and so on.

Would it be possible to generate some more business out of politics though ? I'm after more participation again. Seems in Switzerland they get to vote 4 times a year, greedy basturds. More and more we're going to be voting less and less. I'd love to see EU-wide referenda and polls etc.

I haven't thought it out fully yet but I've a feeling it could generate some good business.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:58 am

Dream on
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:15 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Don't mind them Hecklers.

Ah, well - I somehow doubt the EU will dissolve with the force of those one-liners.

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PostSubject: Setting the record straight.   Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:24 am

Misidentification of the pilot there ibis - it is Biggles at the controls, not Webels.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:43 am

Hermes wrote:
Where it's going, why it's going there and how it intends to get there. There's no roadmap.

What if the point is the journey, not a destination? After all, try asking the same questions about the Irish state - where is it going, why is it going there, and how does it intend to get there? To me the answers to those, insofar as they exist, are "the future", "because it has no choice", and "by muddling along" - alas, I doubt they're any less applicable to the EU.

Quote :
Misidentification of the pilot there ibis - it is Biggles at the controls, not Webels.

Only if Biggles has joined the Judean People's Front...
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:17 am

ibis wrote:
Hermes wrote:
Where it's going, why it's going there and how it intends to get there. There's no roadmap.

What if the point is the journey, not a destination? After all, try asking the same questions about the Irish state - where is it going, why is it going there, and how does it intend to get there? To me the answers to those, insofar as they exist, are "the future", "because it has no choice", and "by muddling along" - alas, I doubt they're any less applicable to the EU.

Where's Ireland going? Down the shitter.

Is there an actual roadmap though with an actual destination in mind? I'd argue that there is (but of course it's not being followed). It's in the preamble of Bunreacht.

Quote :
...

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations, Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

It's a pity it's ignored. Tis a fine map.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:25 am

Hermes wrote:
ibis wrote:
Hermes wrote:
Where it's going, why it's going there and how it intends to get there. There's no roadmap.

What if the point is the journey, not a destination? After all, try asking the same questions about the Irish state - where is it going, why is it going there, and how does it intend to get there? To me the answers to those, insofar as they exist, are "the future", "because it has no choice", and "by muddling along" - alas, I doubt they're any less applicable to the EU.

Where's Ireland going? Down the shitter.

Is there an actual roadmap though with an actual destination in mind? I'd argue that there is (but of course it's not being followed). It's in the preamble of Bunreacht.

Quote :
...

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations, Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

It's a pity it's ignored. Tis a fine map.

I have to say I'd consider it more of a guide to good driving. If it comes to it, I don't think the preamble to the EU treaties is a bad set of goals/guides either:

Quote :
RESOLVED to mark a new stage in the process of European integration undertaken with the establishment of the European Communities,
DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law,
RECALLING the historic importance of the ending of the division of the European continent and the need to create firm bases for the construction of the future Europe,
CONFIRMING their attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and of the rule of law,
CONFIRMING their attachment to fundamental social rights as defined in the European Social Charter signed at Turin on 18 October 1961 and in the 1989 Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers,
DESIRING to deepen the solidarity between their peoples while respecting their history, their culture and their traditions,
DESIRING to enhance further the democratic and efficient functioning of the institutions so as to enable them better to carry out, within a single institutional framework, the tasks entrusted to them,
RESOLVED to achieve the strengthening and the convergence of their economies and to establish an economic and monetary union including, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a single and stable currency,
DETERMINED to promote economic and social progress for their peoples, taking into account the principle of sustainable development and within the context of the accomplishment of the internal market and of reinforced cohesion and environmental protection, and to implement policies ensuring that advances in economic integration are accompanied by parallel progress in other fields,
RESOLVED to establish a citizenship common to nationals of their countries,
RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence in accordance with the provisions of Article 42, thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and in the world,
RESOLVED to facilitate the free movement of persons, while ensuring the safety and security of their peoples, by establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity,
IN VIEW of further steps to be taken in order to advance European integration,
HAVE DECIDED to establish a European Union
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:34 am

Auditor #9 wrote:

I haven't thought it out fully yet but I've a feeling it could generate some good business.

Oddly enough there's a thread about someone with a similar idea next door. Everywhere in fact.

I'd agree that there should be more communication regarding health and education, etc. Lets leave the speeches about cultural inspiration till after the meal.

Ireland's been further down the shitter before BTW.

It's like any business partnership theres always an element of risk. There should respect and trust and then you just do it do it and fix any problems as they occur. Otherwise we'll be discussing the finer details of things that may never happen forever.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:44 am

Would you believe that that's the first time I've read the EU preamble?

Some interesting stuff in there alright. A lot of it, I even agree with.

Might be an interesting exercise sometime to develop how well the EU follows this driving guide. I must admit, that in certain areas, it's going right to plan. Unfortunately for me, these happen to be in areas I wouldn't agree with. Can't please everyone right?

Still, that's the roadmap that I said didn't exist. Tis good to learn something new and not be stuck with my rhetoric. Every now and then anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:00 am

Hermes wrote:
Would you believe that that's the first time I've read the EU preamble?

Some interesting stuff in there alright. A lot of it, I even agree with.

Might be an interesting exercise sometime to develop how well the EU follows this driving guide. I must admit, that in certain areas, it's going right to plan. Unfortunately for me, these happen to be in areas I wouldn't agree with. Can't please everyone right?

Still, that's the roadmap that I said didn't exist. Tis good to learn something new and not be stuck with my rhetoric. Every now and then anyway.

You learn something new every day - well, if you aren't careful, anyway!

Which bits of the preamble would you disagree with?
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:21 am

The EU unfortunately suffers - at least in the 2 countries I know best, Ireland and the UK - from many years of scapegoating / lying (in different ways) by the political elites of both countries. Germany? - will have a think about that one.

Going back to Ireland and asking people about this over the Xmas break, to their prob. justified annoyance (oops!), the depth of ignorance of the EU is still breathtaking. This from a country which has been a member of the Eurozone since the start.

I will post on this at a more reasonable hour, but for now, here were the probably Candide-ish points from Tim Garton Ash for a new narrative for the EU - from Feb 07 - seems such a long time ago, doesn't it?

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=8214
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:34 am

That's a tricky question for me to answer, for a number of reasons. The foremost reason is interpretation (or the lack thereof) of what's being said and indeed that being an anarchist, I'd actually promote some of these, only under a different interpretation, of course.

Anyway, here's the ones I disagree with most.
Quote :
RESOLVED to achieve the strengthening and the convergence of their economies and to establish an economic and monetary union including, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a single and stable currency,

DETERMINED to promote economic and social progress for their peoples, taking into account the principle of sustainable development and within the context of the accomplishment of the internal market and of reinforced cohesion and environmental protection, and to implement policies ensuring that advances in economic integration are accompanied by parallel progress in other fields,

RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence in accordance with the provisions of Article 42, thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and in the world,

One of the parts that actually surprised me is the following:

Quote :
RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity,

That's possibly the closest thing to an Anarchisitc model I've ever read within any democratic framework. Big problem with the interpretation there methinks. I feel that the purpose of the EU is the homogonisation of the peoples and politics of the peoples of Europe. Whereas this last bit of the preamble, to me, is a recognition of the impossibility of this. It's confusing me, to put it very mildly.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:49 am

Hermes wrote:
That's a tricky question for me to answer, for a number of reasons. The foremost reason is interpretation (or the lack thereof) of what's being said and indeed that being an anarchist, I'd actually promote some of these, only under a different interpretation, of course.

Anyway, here's the ones I disagree with most.
Quote :
RESOLVED to achieve the strengthening and the convergence of their economies and to establish an economic and monetary union including, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a single and stable currency,

DETERMINED to promote economic and social progress for their peoples, taking into account the principle of sustainable development and within the context of the accomplishment of the internal market and of reinforced cohesion and environmental protection, and to implement policies ensuring that advances in economic integration are accompanied by parallel progress in other fields,

RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence in accordance with the provisions of Article 42, thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and in the world,

OK. There are elements there, such as the integration of national economies, that seem reasonable to me from an anarchist perspective - if one considers them as the dissolution of national economies, and the production of what I would consider to be a more desirable state of a wider field of enterprise lacking arbitrary and historical boundaries. I am tempted, of course, to describe this as the 'restoration' of a 'more natural' state, but that's Aurientalism, if I may coin a phrase to describe the human tendency towards considering previous ages as golden ones, whereas what one is really doing is gilding lead - no such natural state of open bordered human networking of endeavour has ever existed, as witness the enormous effort the EU expends to try and create one.

Hermes wrote:
One of the parts that actually surprised me is the following:

Quote :
RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity,

That's possibly the closest thing to an Anarchisitc model I've ever read within any democratic framework. Big problem with the interpretation there methinks. I feel that the purpose of the EU is the homogonisation of the peoples and politics of the peoples of Europe. Whereas this last bit of the preamble, to me, is a recognition of the impossibility of this. It's confusing me, to put it very mildly.

One of the reasons I am supportive of the EU is exactly that principle of subsidiarity. The alternative likely model, which is the centralising model of the nation states, strikes me as a good deal worse whether it's done well or badly. Naturally, that means I am opposed to a centralised EU, or to the centralisation of the EU. One of the things that annoys me, I think, is that the EU is often left to the centripetal tendency, because the centrifugal tendency opposes the EU itself on the basis that it "must" be centralising. That's quite aside from the enormous exasperation provoked in me by those who are unwilling to put the effort into learning where the subsidiarity levers are, and getting up to grasp them, instead of whining about how the EU is taking power from the centralised nation-state that has already denuded them of effective local power.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:32 am

You're making some very strong and indeed fair points.

To refine my point somewhat about interpretation: I think the EU is basing itself upon a business model. I think, that this being the case, social aspects are being seen and will always be viewed as being secondary to being profitable. I know you can't build an infrastructure without cash or at least some sort of methodology of valuing labour etc. That's not really what I'm getting at here. The model I'm describing strives to be competitive in a world market, and thus, by its very nature seeks to cheapen the value of labour and indeed to promote a pecking order amongst the different skillsets. With such a pecking order establised, I fear there is a great tendency to prejudice the smooth operation of each and any system within any State operating such a practice. I don't want to sound like someone promoting a fairytale either. I realise that if there were no pecking order, that most folks would make choices whereby they would end up in jobs that required the least effort and time. But that too is a consequence of the model.

In my (imaginary) perfect world, the labour required to pick shite of a bar's toilet floor is as valuable as the labour that delivers a child into this world. The difference would be the prestige and social view afforded each labourer. Two sentences is hardly enough to illustrate fully what I'm on about here, but I reckon you know what I'm getting at. (Don't call me a commie!!)

This 'subsidiarity' is what really interests me. This is the epitome of bottom-up organising. But we do not see this at a national level and I'd argue that we do not see it at an EU level either. I take your point on the centralising model and appreciate it. I suppose the easiest argument I could focus on is the idea of policy making. Policy making is not a bottom-up effort, by any stretch of the imagination, nor indeed does it serve a bottom-up need or purpose. And that's true I feel, at both a national level and the EU level.

I think the problem with the interpretation of 'subsidiarity' is that it relies on competent and efficient levels whereby decisions can be made, 'competent' and 'efficiency,' defined of course, in a top-down way.

My apologies if my blather seems confused. It's been quite a long few days for me. I'll stick on me thinking cap before I hit my bed and hopefully will be a bit more together on my next posting.
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PostSubject: Re: Communicating the EU?   Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:53 am

Hermes wrote:
You're making some very strong and indeed fair points.

To refine my point somewhat about interpretation: I think the EU is basing itself upon a business model. I think, that this being the case, social aspects are being seen and will always be viewed as being secondary to being profitable.

While that's a reasonable preamble to your following points, I don't think it's descriptive of the EU at all. Indeed, I'm not really sure how it can be. If you mean that the EU's policy model of Europe is based on neo-liberal economics, I don't think even that is accurate, although it has at least some applicability. The extent to which the EU does currently follow neo-liberalism is dictated by the extent to which governments following that philosophy have been elected across Europe, and the extent to which those government have in turn appointed Commissioners (like McCreevy) who follow those views - however, virtually no other European governments are as economically right-wing as those of the UK and Ireland, although the picture is somewhat confused by the continued (if declining) confusion on how to operate a market economy in the accession countries.

Hermes wrote:
I know you can't build an infrastructure without cash or at least some sort of methodology of valuing labour etc. That's not really what I'm getting at here. The model I'm describing strives to be competitive in a world market, and thus, by its very nature seeks to cheapen the value of labour and indeed to promote a pecking order amongst the different skillsets. With such a pecking order established, I fear there is a great tendency to prejudice the smooth operation of each and any system within any State operating such a practice. I don't want to sound like someone promoting a fairytale either. I realise that if there were no pecking order, that most folks would make choices whereby they would end up in jobs that required the least effort and time. But that too is a consequence of the model.

In my (imaginary) perfect world, the labour required to pick shite of a bar's toilet floor is as valuable as the labour that delivers a child into this world. The difference would be the prestige and social view afforded each labourer. Two sentences is hardly enough to illustrate fully what I'm on about here, but I reckon you know what I'm getting at. (Don't call me a commie!!)

That is something I can completely understand, but which, again, has relatively little relevance to the EU, except insofar as the EU is not changing things in that direction. It's a model I regard as pretty reasonable, except for one vital flaw - which is that if you make prestige the reward for social approbation, it will swiftly become a currency (and particularly the currency of power, where it is already very acceptable).

Observationally, I think society does a not unreasonable job of allocating monetary reward to work it values (outside the field of finance, because those who work directly with money will wind up as flush with cash as fishermen are with fish) - the distortions generally result from what we might well consider distorted valuations by people at large. For example, someone whose sole talent is the ability to pretend to be other people is currently paid much more highly than, for example, a teacher - unfortunately, under a prestige-based system, the disparity will continue, because it reflects a real valuation.

Hermes wrote:
This 'subsidiarity' is what really interests me. This is the epitome of bottom-up organising. But we do not see this at a national level and I'd argue that we do not see it at an EU level either. I take your point on the centralising model and appreciate it. I suppose the easiest argument I could focus on is the idea of policy making. Policy making is not a bottom-up effort, by any stretch of the imagination, nor indeed does it serve a bottom-up need or purpose. And that's true I feel, at both a national level and the EU level.

Hmm. Policy-making can indeed be done from the bottom up as well as the top down, and is often best done by a combination of both. Similarly with the exercise of policy.

Hermes wrote:
I think the problem with the interpretation of 'subsidiarity' is that it relies on competent and efficient levels whereby decisions can be made, 'competent' and 'efficiency,' defined of course, in a top-down way.

Fortunately, that's not the goal of subsidiarity, which is simply to bring the decision-making level as close as possible to the citizen. Unfortunately, this is something that is an aspiration for the EU, rather than the member state governments as such. That allows centralising governments (and ours is so centralised that even the term decentralisation has been hollowed out) to capture the idea of 'subsidiarity' to mean that decision-making is best done at the national level - something in which they are aided blindly by nationalists, as they always have been. So, to me, the operation of subsidiarity in Ireland is something that is hamstrung by the central Irish government's emasculation of local government - however, if people can be persuaded to retake local power, the EU is a supportive environment in which to do it, which the alternative Westphalian model of competing states would certainly not be.
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