Despite the fact that European integration has improved lives of EU citizens by, allowing the free movement of people across borders, the mutual recognition of many qualifications, safer food through uniform food standards, a uniform environment policy and a fair and equal playing field for companies coming operating within and moving to the EU, the Union is not popular with its citizens. Furthermore, Europe is not perceived, nor is presented, as an opportunity but rather as a hinderance.
Could it be that too little is known about the work and achievements of the European Union. Many EU citizens may be missing opportunities offered by the EU, simply because they do not know of their existence.
For example the internal free movement of goods and services across borders is either not acknowledged or simply taken for granted. The task of making the internal market work across all the member states is not easy and, in fact, quite challenging.
Or perhaps people feel that there is a huge distance between them and the decision -making bodies of the EU. So although citizens are subjected to EU laws they feel that they do not contribute to their making.
The education system may not be equip or effective in communicating the benefits of the EU to young children and young adults. And yet, Erasmus has been one of the most popular and successful programs of the EU.
EU bashing is popular as national politicians find it easier than trying to understand its work, the challenges it faces and what is needed to correct or address these problems. Negative press has exacerbated this process.
Perhaps to survive the EU needs to engage in an aggressive, informative PR exercise. And furthermore, local politicians should refrain for making the EU the scapegoat for their own political failings.
What do you think are the EU’s achievements or failures ? Add your comment below.