Guest post by Dan Luca
The communication strategy of the EU institutions needs to be constructed and adapted in order to really connect with the citizens. People want to know what is going on, but they will focus on issues that are most important to them personally. It is therefore imperative to not annoy anyone with technical and irrelevant details, which will disconnect them. People need to be informed: correct and complete, without any manipulating tendencies.
The EU faces a need for more effective mechanisms to improve the democratic deficit and to involve and select leaders. There is a need for development of the inter-institutional strategies and of the current political discourse, as these elements contribute to the disconnected image of the EU institutions and their representatives to the citizen.
It is striking that the current US president (and even his predecessors) are more known to European citizens than our European leaders. Moreover, these days leading up to the 2012 US presidential elections, a lot of people are interested in and following the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, to see which representative of the Republican Party will enter the presidential elections on behalf of the Party. EU elections do not generate the same amount of interest and involvement and this is largely because the European leaders are chosen by default, and not directly by the citizen.
I do not deny that we don’t have good and competent leaders in Brussels, but the election mechanism is not good. The leadership will not connect to the citizen in the current system. Moreover, to have a mechanism like in the US, where the leaders are directly elected by the citizens, will only benefit the leaders. They will be more connected to the people.
What will happen in the coming years? From a ‘real communication’ point of view we need something new; maybe not a complete revolution of the system, but certainly an adaptation of the communication strategy of the EU institutions. I hope and believe that evolution of the EU in terms of communication with the citizens is feasible. But in the current system, with its structures and its leaders, few things can happen. In general, the debate is brought back to a level of technicalities and legal issues, which do not impact nor do they inspire involvement from the people.
Europe needs a strong political project. Citizens require a strong and open European political project in order to protect them from dealing with a very abstract system, a system with very low results.
Dan Luca. Blog: Casa Europei