The EU and political communication

Introduction
The European Union (EU), an unique invention
The creators Monnet and Schumann were visionairs but by all means practical too.
They brought the former enemies in two the continent devastating wars together by engaging in concrete cooperation in for the separate countries vital sectors of industry; that is the coal- and steel-industry.
Thus the predecessor of the EU, the ECSC, was born.

Why the EU ?
-a huge increase in prosperity, by the common market with free movement of goods,
persons, services and capital;
-absence of wars between the member-states;
-cooperation on areas as social policy, education, R & D, agriculture, culture etc;
– tackling of problems, requiring solutions of the world scale like globale warming, immigration, (fysical and digital) threats;
-one voice on the world stage;
-a community of values.

Concrete
Psychological milestones were the abolition of the frontiers in 1992 and the introduction of the common currency -the euro- in 2002.
At the figurative border -reduced to one board: welcome in the BRD or the Netherlands- you can simply drive. No passport control. All at once a night at the opera in Essen is just as far away from f.e. Eindhoven as the Concerthall in Amsterdam.
Who remembers the fiddling with travellercheques and banks that were invariably closed ? When you need money now in Cologne, you just walk to the nearest branch and easily take euro’s out of the wall. And how closeby comes the budgetary policy of f.e. Greece of Italy to ‘The Hague’’ as we immediately notice the effects on our euro ?

Of course there are issues that pass less smoothly. An inseparably to the external boundaries connected joint asylum policy doesn’t come of the ground.
To provide a solid foundation to the monetary Union, further central measures are needed. How do we explain that without losing support for the Union ?

But overseeing this all, it is a mystery that the European Union is in such a bad light. She has an image problem.

Europe and communication
Talking about communicatie there is a distance; a ‘gap’ between the EU and the citizen. Is that the cause or consequence of the fact that Europe is not popular ?
Problems exist of accessibility, clarity and lack of knowledge resulting in the undermining of credibility. Current communication on ‘Brussels’ is often characterized by attention for ‘incidents’ and ‘quarrels’. For example: in the speech which president Macron recently held in the European Parliament, he above all things unfolded his plans to make the Union more decisive and unanimous. Dutch news on the other hand picked his condemnation of the Syrian chemical giftgas attack on Douma out. “Good news is no news”.
A European sound will moreover not be heard form national governments: they exhibit often a ‘Janus-face; at home they say then something different as in Brussels from fear of losing the electorate.

How then ?

My drive is to improve society al little and clarify subjects which at first sight look complicated. And thus make the EU more accessible for the European citizen through clear communication.
And less elite-conscious; with ‘the face to the European citizen’. The defy of clear communication is even more manifest in a period of populism and fake information that Eastern- and Western-EU countries both in their own way face.
I focus on the long term (not the short-term memory) and unpersonalised vision (‘the substance, not the puppets’). It is with passion that I wish to contribute to this challenge.

Europe and regional and local policy
There is no level where Europe becomes more tangible than in the regions and municipalities. They are allies of one another. I always try to demonstrate Europe in those effects. For that I can draw on my work on local and regional level, like at the sheltered employment Weener Group in ’s-Hertogenbosch (researcher), and the predecessor of the Metropolitan Region Eindhoven Brainport
researcher). President Macron launches in april his campaign of asking the ‘normal’ Frenchman his/her opinion on the future of the European project. These co-called ‘European consultations’ will follow in other countries. I am curious of your opinions !

Political communication and me
I wil tell you an imagery, based on the some similarities between the artisinal production process of a biological bakery and political communication !
I mention the main steps in good bakery and describe elements which in my view political European communication is all about:
1. Good ingredients;
In political communication:
– the right information, no artificial (fake) info;
– intellect;
– societal engagement (join and interested in society);
– a sense of justice: signalizing and confronting injustice;
– European feeling;
– political sensibility;
2. Watch and let the yeast do its work. Carbondioxide leading to bubbles in dough;
In political communication:
– creativity;

3. Then know and survey the baking time;
In political communication:
– ‘close to topicality’ (that means you have to address issues preferably befóre they enter the news: f.e.my contributions “Cooperation last will”, “Gaza/antisemitism;

4. Deliver products which the customers like;
In political communication:
– ‘close to the citizens’ (like “Let the stars shine”- Lambert van Nistelrooij a.o.).

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