September 2, 2010

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02 September 2010 4:52 PM

That man outside your house every midnight: Barroso the stalker

Barroso dm You might not have noticed but heaven knows it is the sort of thing they notice at the Commission: a few days ago a Eurobarometer poll was published which showed that support for the EU is falling all across the Continent. Fewer than half of the citizens of European countries now think that membership of the EU is a good thing for their country.

This isn't supposed to happen. Indeed, the Commission has an annual euro-propaganda budget of at least £2.3bn to make sure it doesn't happen. But somehow it has. The more the people of Europe have of 'more Europe,' the less they like it.

Not that the Brussels elite whose lush careers depend on 'more Europe' will accept that people increasingly dislike the EU because they know more and more about it.

No, the minute the poll was published, the commission was twisting the results with a press handout headlined: 'EU citizens favour stronger European economic governance.' It claimed that 92 percent of people think the EU has set the right priorities for economic recovery.

Whaaa? 92 percent? The last time I saw a figure of that sort support was in one of the Soviet elections. Yes, Leonid Brezhnev was 92 percent loved, and the figures proved it.

Viviane Reding, the Luxembourger commissioner in charge of the propaganda department known as  'communications,' even insisted: 'The clear majority for enhanced European economic governance shows that people see the EU as a decisive part of the solution to the crisis.' She wants us to believe that 75 percent of the people in EU countries are in favour of giving the EU -- ie, people like her -- a stronger role in the coordination of member states' economic and budgetary policies.

Mats Persson, the head of the Open Europe think tank, took that kind of absurd commission spinning apart in an article for the Swedish news site Europaportalen. Mats has paraphrased the piece for me in English.

He wrote that such overwhelming support for EU interference just doesn't appear anywhere else in the poll.

What else doesn't appear anywhere in the poll is the role of the EU or the term 'European economic governance.' All there is is a woolly question about whether or not you think it would be effective to combat the current crisis with 'a stronger coordination of economic and financial policies among all the EU Member States.'

The propaganda merchants at the commission couldn't resist massaging the result, adding up two groups of different answers into an omnibus 75 percent figure, then repackaging it as three-quarters of all the people of the EU member states being in favour of giving the EU more powers to monitor national economies. But that was never the question.

Mats took apart other commission 'interpretations' of the figures, and then noted, ''The commission's Eurobarometer is very expensive -- almost 27,000 people were interviewed face-to-face -- begging the question whether taxpayers' money really should be used in this way.'

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the commission, tried to spin the poll, too. Almost as soon as it was out, he was onto the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera to insist that the fault for the falling support rests with the governments of member states.

He said that when things go wrong, the governments blame it on the EU, but they take all the credit for the things Brussels accomplishes:  'I problemi non si risolveranno fino a che ogni nazione non vede il progetto europeo come il suo progetto.' My recent year in Rome tells me what Barroso meant is that the problems will not be resolved until each nation sees the European project as its own project.

In other words, according the Barroso, what is causing the unpopularity of the EU among the people of the 27 EU countries is that the governments of Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the rest just pig-headedly insist on looking after their own nations first instead of looking after the interests of the EU first.

He spins the poll until its results are meaningless . So much for the value of the Eurobarometer poll. Once the results get through the mincer at the commission, they bear no resemblance to how the answers went in.

Yet the commission will go on ordering Eurobarometer to go on running polls. Eurobarometer is the commission's own creature, after all. And no matter what the results say about people wanting to get the EU out of their lives, the eurocrats will go on insisting the problem is 'communication.' They will insist, as they always do, that if 'EU citizens' (may the phrase burn in hell) only knew more about all the wonderful work the

EU is doing for them, they would learn to love the EU just as much as the eurocrats themselves do.
At which point the reasoning of boss eurocrat Barroso and the other eurocrats turns into the reasoning of the stalker, insisting that if only the young woman would get to know him, she would realise how much he loves her, and how much she really -- though she resists it -- loves him. He knows he's the only man for her. It is only others -- the eurosceptic press, the governments of member states -- who are poisoning her mind against him.

And he'll stand outside her house at midnight every night and follow her to work everyday until she admits the truth until finally she will submit to an ever closer union...

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