(openDemocracy) The European Union’s problem is substance, not narrative

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The hard fact that ‘pro-Europeans’ have to grasp is that for many people the EU is not at all that great. Quite the contrary, the EU imposes tough economic rules, yet gives little palpable in return.

The argument that Euroskepticism could be overcome by better framing, PR techniques or a new narrative appeals to many “pro-Europeans”. Its logic is simple: the EU does good things, but they are complex by nature and thus difficult to understand. Therefore, the solution surely lies in simplifying the language, engaging the skeptics on Twitter and carrying the day. Sadly, this belief reflects the pro-European elite’s failure to grasp the deeper reality of what shapes people’s perceptions and what the EU today does.

In fact, the EU’s problem is not the absence of a catchy narrative, but the presence of a rather unpopular substance. The lack of a positive narrative is only the most visible sign of the EU’s growing institutional and ideological tensions and this is what the pro-Europeans should really be worrying about, rather than decrying the lack of spin. Continue reading

(Razpotja) Evropska unija 21. stoletja

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V Bruslju sem preživel skoraj sedem let, a se kljub temu ob vsakem povratku počutim kot tujec. Nikakor ne zato, ker evropske prestolnice ne bi dovolj dobro poznal ali ker me tam ne bi pričakali številni prijatelji in nekdanji sodelavci. Ne, vedno znova me tudi še tako kratek obisk Bruslja jasno spomni na to, zakaj sem pred tremi leti odšel stran. Vedno težje sem namreč prenašal miopično zaprtost administrativno-političnega aparata EU, ki je razumevanje Evrope vse manj gradil na zdravem razumu in se vse bolj zapiral sam vase.

Zato me je vsak dan več, ki sem ga preživel v Bruslju, silil v vedno bolj kritično držo. Postajal sem vedno bolj ciničen do jezika, ki se ga poslužuje administracija EU, ko govori o državljanih namesto ljudeh, ko govori o potrošnikih namesto delavcih in o deležnikih namesto sogovornikih, partnerjih. Tisoči in tisoči strani strategij, reform, ciljev, ukrepov, benchmarkov, pogojev ipd. Tovrstni abstraktni, odtujeni jezik je postal zgolj simbolični dokaz, da je »Bruselj« – kot sinonim za prostor evropskega zakonodajnega odločanja in vladanja – postal vse bolj prizorišče bojev med dobro izurjenimi interesnimi skupinami, vse manj pa demokratični okvir, v katerem Evropejci uresničujejo svoje želje po boljšem jutri.

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