Friday, 14 February 2014

EU Bosses Step Up Bullying, Propaganda to Combat Euroskepticism

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The EU’s ruling elites in Brussels are going all out for the May European Parliament elections, attempting to expand their powers throughout the continent and beat back a growing rebellion against centralization.

Viviane Reding (shown on right), the controversial and voluble European justice commissioner, was in London on February 10 for a public debate on “The Future of Europe,” part of a “Citizens’ Dialogue” series launched by the commission in 2013 as a key element of a year-long propaganda blitz. That blitz is aimed at influencing the vote for the 751 members of the European Parliament in elections that will take place in every member state from May 22-25.  

Reding’s event in London, according to the EU Commission’s press office, was the 44th of “more than 47 such meetings” planned throughout the continent, together with a massive propaganda campaign involving television programming, social media trolling, literature distribution, and other costly schemes that have been drawing widespread criticism, even from political and media sectors that are normally supportive of the EU.

As The New American’s Bob Adelmann reported recently, Reding struck a raw nerve with her January federalism speech calling for transforming the European Union into a United States of Europe, with even greater and more centralized powers. It was but the latest, blatant confirmation from a top-level Eurocrat vindicating the warnings of critics that the proponents of “an ever closer union” really intended to completely eradicate the national sovereignty of EU member states and turn the EU into an omnipotent government over the entire continent. 

Of course, for most of the past nearly six decades of the EU’s existence (in its various permutations) its leaders and promoters have publicly, vociferously denied that they desired, or were working toward a federal United States of Europe — even while virtually every action they took (as well as their revealed private statements) proved otherwise. Two and a half decades ago, in an April 10, 1989 article entitled “United States of Europe,” The New American detailed the explicit, concrete steps that were being taken, as well as the many admissions by key EU architects, that belied the denials of the crypto-federalists concerning their true goals.

Now that the centralization and consolidation schemes are so flagrant as to be undeniable, the EU plotters are trying to bribe, bully, coerce, frighten, seduce, and threaten the increasingly resistant EU inhabitants into accepting the final coup de grace to their liberties. However, the EU-mandated taxpayer bailouts of the big European and Wall Street banks, along with monetary and regulatory policies that have clobbered EU economies, have taken a huge toll on EU credibility and popularity. The truculence of Reding and her boss, Commission President José Manuel Barroso (shown on left), are adding to the growing outrage and anger toward Brussels. The anti-EU sentiments are running especially strong in Britain, Germany, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, and the Netherlands (the latter of which was a founding member of the six-nation pact that grew into the EU).

Commissioner Reding has attacked as “extremist” British concerns over the massive illegal migration into the U.K. and British efforts to curtail benefits to migrants. She has been joined in these attacks by EU politicians such as Barroso and EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor, who have characterized the British efforts as “nasty” and “pandering” to xenophobia and hate.

In her February 10 London debate, Reding said it is important for British voters to see accurate "facts and figures on the table" about the EU before May's European elections. The headline for a BBC story on the event reads: “'Give UK voters facts' — EU Commissioner Viviane Reding.”

Her comments were rich in the brazen hypocrisy category, given that the European Commission has been repeatedly lambasted for being extremely secretive and nontransparent, as well as for habitually misstating the facts and promoting falsehoods. And Reding herself is an attendee of the very secretive Bilderberg conferences; when questioned in the past about her participation at Bilderberg, she has invoked the “Chatham House rule,” the vow of secrecy that applies to all attendees.  

With the 2014 European Parliament elections coming in less than 100 days, the commission is under fire from a wide array of critics for costly EU propaganda campaigns that are not only a wasteful expense in a time of austerity, but a violation of the supposed neutrality of the EU institutions in electoral politics.

European Commission chief Barroso, reports the U.K.’s Telegraph, recently “asked his commissioners to send him five-page eulogies — with pictures — of their good works to fill a pro-EU 'booklet' ahead of the European elections in May."

"The commission already spends an enormous amount on propaganda,” said Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative MEP for the East of England region. “This is another example of its efforts at self-promotion at our expense."

Euronews, the multilingual news channel based in Lyon, France, is notorious as a propaganda outlet for the European Commission, which is its major source of funding. But amidst Brussels’ demands since the financial crisis for “austerity” and belt-tightening from national and local governments and citizens, the commission’s spending on Euronews has continued to climb. So it is with the EU’s spending across the board for propaganda that polishes the EU image and argues for “an ever closer union” (meaning one in which Brussels gains more and more powers).

In 2011, the EU opened an extravagant new multi-million-dollar European Parliament visitor center in Brussels, called the Parliamentarium, which the British group Taxpayers Alliance (TPA) designated as “propaganda central.” The lavish edifice, which ran millions of euros over budget in projected construction costs, is but one of many targets cited by angry European taxpayers. TPA says of the Palriamentarium: 

And be in no doubt, it is propaganda central. The room entitled “United in Diversity” features “a walk-on map spread out over the floor, showing a Europe without borders” and enables visitors to “interactively acquire information on events that caused the European Parliament to draw up regulations that are valid and applicable throughout Europe”.

It includes a “light installation” entitled “Sky of Opinions”, while a special effort has been made to indoctrinate children of the need for the European Union to exist, with a mock-up of the Parliament chamber. Again, according to the official blurb, this will enable them to “learn what it means to actively participate in the idea of a united Europe.” 

Brussels’ Costly “Twitter Trolls”

Last year leaked documents exposed the EU Commission’s use of millions of euros in taxpayer funds to troll the Internet and propagandize for pro-EU sentiments. Bruno Waterfield, Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, wrote: 

The Daily Telegraph has seen confidential spending proposals and internal documents planning an unprecedented propaganda blitz ahead of and during European elections in June 2014.

Key to a new strategy will be "public opinion monitoring tools" to "identify at an early stage whether debates of political nature among followers in social media and blogs have the potential to attract media and citizens' interest.” …

"Particular attention needs to be paid to the countries that have experienced a surge in Euroscepticism," said a confidential document agreed to last year. 

The EU plans also called for another installment on the $100-million “House of European History” museum to “promote awareness of European identity.” Naturally, “European identity” in this instance means identification with, and support for, the European “Project.”

The Daily Telegraph reported: 

Paul Nuttall, UKIP's deputy leader, has attacked the proposals, which he said, violate the neutrality of the EU civil service by turning officials into a "troll patrol", stalking the internet to make unwanted and provocative political contributions in social media debates.

"Spending over a million pounds for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous," he said.

"It strikes me as bizarre that the EU administration is playing such an explicitly political role with a brief to target Eurosceptics — that's code for parties like Ukip, and this is hardly neutral." 

Among the many other propaganda programs sponsored by the EU politburo is a series of high-profile celebrity ReACT conferences it has sponsored. “The European Parliament held its latest ReACT conference in Rome, one of five held throughout Europe on different themes ahead of the May 2014 European Elections,” a European Parliament news release stated on January 24, 2014. “The conference took place in Cinecittà, the legendary cinema studios on 23 January. Health, sustainability and food were on the menu of the day for the experts and other interested people attending the event.” The three speakers at the EU confab were Professor Riccardo Valentini, a so-called climate expert, Italian chef and TV star Carlo Cracco, and TV journalist and health guru Michele Mirabella.

The Rome conference was the fourth ReACT event. The first ReACT affair took place in Paris and focused on employment; the second was in Warsaw and dealt with the EU’s role in the world; the third was in Frankfurt and focused on the value of investment flowing from the EU budget back to member states. The economy will be discussed on February 20 in Madrid in the last conference. It has been no surprise that all the ReACT events have been scripted to promote collective EU “solutions” to all the real or perceived problems and “crises.” And these solutions always entail the transfer of more power to the EU central authorities.

Another row last year erupted over the vote by the European Parliament for €7.3 million to fund a three-day “summer camp” next May (just before the elections) for 10,000 young people aged 16 to 30 to celebrate Europe’s “cultural diversity” and debate “ideas for a better Europe.” 

None of this is new, of course; the pro-EU propaganda has been flowing non-stop, and in ever-grander and more militant fashion, for decades. However, in those earlier years, most people were blinded by the free cheese, but now the mousetraps are snapping shut, with lethal effect. The EU propaganda is ubiquitous, with EU flags and EU symbols everywhere, and new EU agencies and buildings cropping up daily. Then there are the pro-EU school lessons and textbooks, comic books, radio and TV broadcasts, billboards, bus and subway advertisements, etc. 

However, as we have reported here previously, support for the EU is crumbling throughout Euroland, and even all the aggressive propaganda Brussels can muster may not be enough to save it from breaking apart. In fact, Reding, Barroso, and company appear to be alienating and angering far more people with their offensive, ham-fisted approach than they are winning to the EU cause.

 

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