Brussels is a haven for the fossil fuel and motor industry lobbies, while the EU is increasingly undermining its own environmental protections.
I’m going to set aside my views about the rights and wrongs of Britain staying in the EU for a moment, and instead focus on the way the Remain campaign is trying to make its case. This is especially relevant today after the Dutch expressed their vague frustration towards the EU in their Ukraine referendum yesterday.
For everybody who knows a bit about the EU, the nationwide, expensive and low-turnout Dutch plebiscite on this EU-Ukraine contract looks in itself rather odd.
Ukrainian students gather in Kiev to back Ukraine’s cause in Dutch referendum, April5,2016. Sergei Chuzavkov / Press Association. All rights reserved.On 6 April 2016, the Netherlands held a national referendum where the Dutch people were asked speak out for or against the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine – a large treaty between Brussels and Kyiv, signed in 2014 and ratified in 2015. As expected, the Association enemies won the referendum with approximately two thirds speaking out against, and circa one in favor. Yet, for everybody who knows a bit about the EU, the nationwide, expensive and low-turnout Dutch plebiscite on this EU-Ukraine contract looks itself odd.
There are more and more refugees at Europe’s gates, but teargas and barbed wire are not the answerEurope is approaching the point where the only way to control desperate migrants could soon be the regular use of physical force. Scenes of violence this week on the Greek-Macedonian border, where refugees breached a border fencewith a homemade battering ram, and in Calais, where police fired teargas atpeople protesting against the demolition of their shelters, suggest we are close to a line that we absolutely must not cross.
People who work in European Union politics in some way often bemoan the EU’s communications problem.
Their classic diagnosis goes something like this:
If only people would search out the facts about the European Union, people would better understand that the European Union does work in their interests, and that it is not some sort of evil construct. To help citizens understand that the European Union is a good thing, the EU institutions need to bring the EU ‘closer’ to its citizens. This should be done by explaining in practical terms what the EU does for people. This, by extension, means the institutions need to invest in communications activities – by providing support for journalists, by live streaming what they do, and by using online communication to reach out to citizens directly.
American progressives distressed about the prospect of being offered a choice this fall between a right-wing billionaire and a one-time corporate lawyer on the board of Wal-Mart, might look to Spain for a reminder that left-wing leaders with principles and charisma do still exist.