Britain was as some would say was only ever “60% in the EU” – but France came worryingly close to electing a similarly anti-European leader. But the real enemy isn’t populism, it’s confusion and misinformation.
What I want to ask is what we can do to fight the perception that Europe is undemocratic. I want to know what happened in Britain that caused them to have a mere 27% turnout to their last European election and what we can do to prevent it in other member states.
I think the EU should start some initiatives on European openness and media attention. For a start, do you know who your commissioner is and their role in the commission? Which party they belong to? I had to go and google the one for Ireland.
I can’t think of any citizen of any country in the EU who doesn’t know the name of their president or prime minister, even most cabinet ministers. Yet the commissioners seem to work in almost absolute silence, allowing the media to concoct any lurid story it wants. The job of a commissioner is nearly as important as prime minister or foreign secretary, so we should all know who we’re dealing with.
What I think we should do is have each country’s commissioner regularly speak with the media in their own country. We should see them being talked about and debated every day and everyone should know the name of their commissioner.