This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 1st February 2009.
EU taxpayers are paying over 2,410 million (€ 2.4 bn) Euros to receive EU propaganda of EU bureaucracy. This amazing figure can be found from recently published study “The hard sell: EU communication policy and the campaign for hearts and minds” (December 2008) made by UK-based think tank Open Europe.
Open Europe is an independent, non-party political think tank which contributes bold new thinking to the debate about the direction of the European Union. Open Europe believes that the EU must now embrace radical reform based on economic liberalization, a looser and more flexible structure, and greater transparency and accountability if it is to overcome these challenges, and succeed in the twenty first century. (More about Open Europe here)
The very well detailed and quoted new study with its 151 pages has concluded that total EU’s total propaganda spend amounts to more than € 2,410,231,282 per year. Alarming is that this €2.4bn estimate of EU propaganda spending is very conservative, calculated using only those budget lines which explicitly indicate their use. The study claims that “Indeed much of the funding that goes on propaganda is hidden deep inside the EU budget, under headings which do not suggest from their titles or descriptions that this is how the money was spend.”
(The full study can be found from here)
How the propaganda was made
The study has divided the money spending (or squandering if you like) into four chapters which are telling how the propaganda was – and still is – made:
- “Communicating Europe”: The EU’s biased information campaign
- Funding the cheerleaders: Paying NGOs, think-tanks and lobby groups topromote the EU
- Buying loyalty: Promoting European citizenship and a common European culture to engender support for the EU
- Investing in the long-term: Targeting young people
As said before, the study “EU communication policy and the campaign for hearts and minds” is well detailed with well-grounded arguments. However must disagree that EU funding itself creates EU propaganda. For example the study mentioned that e.g. cafebabel organization gets support from EU. I am one blogging under that platform and my writings have been quite euro-skeptical, I have e.g. claimed EU covering its own weaknesses by blaming member states, proposed to EU wannabees to seek also other alternatives, accused EU missions and its external policy about short-sighted and disastrous etc. – probably not what they want hear in Brussels.
My point is that even EU facilitates organizations, groups or media it can not know if these are telling their side of the story.