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The European Public Sphere and the EUs democratic deficit: where are we now? The role of the Commission Rep in the UK during Plan-D? Dominic Brett Head.

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Presentation on theme: "The European Public Sphere and the EUs democratic deficit: where are we now? The role of the Commission Rep in the UK during Plan-D? Dominic Brett Head."— Presentation transcript:

1 The European Public Sphere and the EUs democratic deficit: where are we now? The role of the Commission Rep in the UK during Plan-D? Dominic Brett Head of Public Diplomacy European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom November 4 th 2008

2 Structure Overview of the 3 years –Council reaction to failed referenda in 05 –Commission mandate –Plan-D in the UK. Work of the Representation Possible implications of Eurosceptic activities for public debate on EU

3 Declaration by European Council on ratification of the Constitutional Treaty, June Council does not believe FR and NL referenda cast doubt on public attachment to European venture. But citizens have expressed concerns… which need to be taken into account. Period of reflection launched to enable broad debate in each country, involving the public, civil society, social partners, national parliaments and political parties. The European institutions will also have to make their contribution, with the Commission playing a special role in this regard.

4 How was the declaration interpreted? Mandate to Commission to engage with the public in two-way process of: –gauging their views on Europe the better to enable European Council to accommodate them in future Treaty revision –explaining better what the EU does and (critically) doesnt do

5 Leading to… Plan D and its follow up. 7 key texts adopted over three years –Action plan on internal communication (7/05) (SEC(2005)985) –Plan D (10/05) (COM(2005)494) –White paper (2/06) (COM(2006)35) –Plan D – Wider and Deeper Debate on Europe (SEC) –Communicating in Partnership (10/07) (COM(2007)568 –Debate Europe (4/08) (COM(2008)158) –Interinstitutional declaration Communicating Europe in Partnership (10/08)

6 Three key innovations 1.Better internal communication and presentation –Increased professionalization of the service du porte-parole (more trained journalists) –Faster rebuttal and myth-busting –Coordination between DGs on messaging (cf new social agenda, 08) and staggering of news events –Simpler and clearer publications

7 Three key innovations 2.Going Local –More money and staff for the Representations (+400k and 12 new civil servants for London) –More work outside Westminster village and Fleet Street (regions, schools, etc.). –Europe Direct network (30 drop-in centres) –Back to basics messaging: Targeted not generic; practical not ideological (e.g. The EU: Whats in it for me?)

8 Three key innovations 3.Partnership with the Member States and European Parliament –Public generally perceives only the EU –Govt can mobilize more resources than Cmsn and knows its domestic audience better –Agreement of Oct 2008: Identifies annual comms priorities to be implemented jointly by Brussels and MS

9 Commitments by the UK government Interim report on the national debates during the reflection period on the future of Europe, December 2005 UKs plans: –New website to provide information on the EU and the future of Europe debate –Continue work engaging with key stakeholders (commercial, governmental and civil society) –Work in partnership with the European Commission and European Parliament to co-ordinate activities

10 Lisbon Lisbon made decisive nods towards the latter view: –Blocking prerogative for national parliaments on Cmsn proposals (yellow card) –Cmsn Pres of same political hue as EP majority –Council meetings on the record –Citizens right of petition (1 million signatures)

11 Lisbon: problems and paradoxes Do UK Eurosceptics object to Lisbon because it risked making the EU more palatable? If Lisbon is not implemented, what becomes of hopes to democratize the EU more? Either way, where next for grassroots communication efforts on the EU in the UK?

12 For more information Commission Representation in the UK –http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/index_en.h tmhttp://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/index_en.h tm EP office in the UK –http://www.europarl.org.uk/index.htmhttp://www.europarl.org.uk/index.htm FCOs Britain in the EU site –http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/fco-in- action/institutions/britain-in-the-european- union/http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/fco-in- action/institutions/britain-in-the-european- union/


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