Brussels has a communication problem. It spends pretty close to what coca Cola does on promoting itself every year, to no avail.
There are a few reasons for this, mainly that the member states don’t really want their people to know much about the EU, this makes it far easier for them to hoodwink the public and shift the blame elsewhere.
The downside is that some tawdry opportunist would pop up to spoil everything by either turning our union of co-dependent incompetents into something that needs paying attention to, or simply acting like a cry baby wanting to leave the party first.
There is another reason that communication is so poor and that is the language used by Brussels.
Now in this virtual kingdom there is a high level of insecurity, because they would dearly love to wander round like courtiers – and aren’t they pretty damn good at that, especially in Council, with Berlaymont as a runner up. Always the bridesmaid, hey guys.
This overguilding of the European lily provides a tremendous amount of entertainment for those of us who have to watch this turgid posturing. There’s the awards, such as the Charlemagne Prize for being a good European boy, and it is almost always a boy, sorry Angela.
Winners include, The European Commission in 1969, the summer of love. Other worthies include The People of Luxembourg’ – probably for services to tax evasion, and other giants like tony ‘What WMD’ Blair, The Euro, Herman Van Rompuy – and where would we be without his, well whatever it was he was doing all day, nobody really seems to know.
Quite how Henry Kissinger’s carpet bombing of Cambodia got him a gong too, we may never know.
This has vomited out a junior prize, the Charlemagne Youth Prize, for being gullible enough to believe our hogwash, or for being duplicitous enough to lie convincingly well to get on the gravy train.
Of course, there’s another way to get on the gravy train, and that is as popular as ever, going by the May to December couples seen wandering around the institutions.
What we should do is have a prize for the creator of euro-jargon. There’s two types, in essence; the phrases all the cool kids stopped using a year ago, but are just beginning to spread in the achingly uncool corridors of Brussels; and the clunking inelegant phrase.
This explains why I got a press release from Berlaymont saying Europe must produce concrete steps to stop migrants from drowning at sea.
That’s the Juncker word of the moment, concrete. If you want to know if a commissioner is on-message, playing on the Juncker team then this word being used slightly awkwardly in speeches or in glib answers in press conferences is a key sign.
The other way of telling if a commissioner is on side or not, is to ask them ‘Are you Gunter Oettinger?’
With the non-language of Eurocratese gaining favour, and have you noticed that every Commission press release is now in bad English and full of typos? That’s what happens when you de-Brit DG COMM. It takes EU communications to a level that would be unacceptable in a high school class president campaign.
In the meantime, going forward, the commission will try to speak in the language of the insider, perpetually unable to understand why people aren’t listening to them.
We need concrete steps to clean European ears out. It can’t be Brussels fault, can it.