The hard fact that ‘pro-Europeans’ have to grasp is that for many people the EU is not at all that great. Quite the contrary, the EU imposes tough economic rules, yet gives little palpable in return.
The argument that Euroskepticism could be overcome by better ‘framing’, PR techniques or a ‘new narrative’ appeals to many ‘pro-Europeans’. Its logic is simple: the EU does good things, but they are complex by nature and thus difficult to understand. Therefore, the solution surely lies in simplifying the language, engaging the skeptics on Twitter and carrying the day. Sadly, this belief reflects the pro-European elite’s failure to grasp the deeper reality of what shapes people’s perceptions and what the EU today does.
In fact, the EU’s problem is not the absence of a catchy narrative, but the presence of a rather unpopular substance. The lack of a positive narrative is only the most visible sign of the EU’s growing institutional and ideological tensions and this is what the pro-Europeans should really be worrying about, rather than decrying the lack of spin.
(The article was published on openDemocracy on April 24, 2014 and is available in full here)
Marko Bucik is board member of WES and works as a consultant for the World Bank, in Washington, DC. He is also a regular contributor to the Slovenian daily Večer, writing on the European Union, US politics and global affairs.