Thanks for asking me to be a guest. I find the discussions here interesting and the project itself very worthwhile. Hopefully you do too! It’s the first time the Commission has supported this sort of a competition.
With just three weeks left until the European Parliament elections I am pleased to see that things are beginning to pick up around the EU. The media are finally getting around to covering the elections, interviewing candidates and analysing the key issues. I have done a lot of interviews and presentations, but I think now the public would be better off if media gave their precious airtime and column space to people who are actually running for election rather than someone from the Commission who is not. Hopefully the doomsday predictions of low turnout will be put to shame! .
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a shout for Europe event at the Grand Place in Brussels. This was part of the MTV initiative Can you hear me Europe which aims to urge especially young Europeans to vote. Again, this is a first for the Commission and I’m curious to see how it will work out. This year, there are 36 million first-time-voters in Europe, and the only way to reach out to them is by adapting to the communication tools that they actually use, whether it’s MTV, blogs or Facebook rather than the Financial Times (though we might catch some of them there, too). An estimated 37 million people have seen the TV clips so far which I think represents good value for the relatively small amount of money invested in the project. I’m interested in what you bloggers think of it and also of the European Parliament TV ads which are now available on Youtube. My favourite clip currently however is this one made for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the iron curtain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X87zcC6bntY
It’s not directly related to the Parliament elections but actually it could be. I found it very moving.
Just a few days ago I participated in the first ever Citizens’ Summit in Europe. 150 people from all walks of life across the EU got together in Brussels to hand over to top policy-makers in Brussels their recommendations on how to tackle the economic and social challenges facing Europe. This was the culmination of an online consultation process involving some 250,000 and national consultations involving 1,600 people representing a cross section of the societies in all 27 Member States. There was a discussion with the leaders of the European political parties which I found interesting from several points of view. Not least the fact than many of the leaders slipped into election mode and were rapped on the knuckles by a citizen from Poland who reminded them that they were there to talk about the issues raised by citizens, not their respective party merits. That got a good round of applause in the room!
Anyway, I’ll keep this post short and let you react. Talk soon.