6th Oct 2022


Secret demonstration of 200,000 in Lisbon

Last week during the EU summit, the Portuguese Union, CGTP-Intersindical, organised the biggest demonstration in Lisbon in 20 years.

Under the slogan "For a social Europe – Employment with rights" up to 200,000 people gathered to oppose what they believe to be a "neo-liberal" EU reform treaty, which more or less equals the rejected EU constitution.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Portuguese workers demonstrated during the EU summit in Lisbon for a social Europe and employment with rights. (Photo: CGTP-IN)

The funny - or alarming - thing is the fact, that these 200,000 people managed to demonstrate almost unnoticed without being mentioned by the media.

A keyword search on Google news with "demonstration" and "Lisbon" in the Anglophone media brought only three matches. One was in "EU Business", the other two: the English issue of the Hungarian "Javno" as well as on "Aljazeera".

The German-language media shows the same picture, two matches: the Swiss "Tagesanzeiger" and the Austrian "Kurier". Nothing at all in Germany.

Instead of informing their readers of the demonstration of 200,000 in Lisbon the Austrian "Der Standard" preferred to report about a demonstration of 200 to 300 right-wing europhobe activists in Paris.

So why is that? Isn't the message clear? Only a handful of loonies are fighting against this historical treaty. Don't mention the 200,000! Finally in the francophone media: two matches, one "Le Monde" and two, the Chinese News Agency "XINHUA".

Just for fun: let's get some figures to compare: In France there were 310 articles on "Le sommet" (and 722 on Sarkozy's marital life), in Germany there are roughly 350 articles available on the "Erfolg" (success) in Lisbon. And, finally, the UK provides around 200 articles matching the word "EU-summit". All this is according to Google news.

EU propaganda

I am sure there were more reports altogether than available on Google news, but the picture is clear and there is no need for any further comment. 125:1 is roughly the ratio between the "EU Court Circular" - meaning EU propaganda - and the report about an event that 200,000 EU citizens were engaged in.

Now my personal research showed that obviously even journalists who were willing to write about this demonstration just did not know about it. This seems strange in a digitalised world with all its electronic possibilities of communication.

To be fair, we have to consider the question that the event might have not been communicated properly by its organisers. But there were hundreds of journalist sitting in the EU summit's press centre.

Normally this means "sit and wait". Waiting for the press conferences of the presidency and the national briefings, waiting for some insider information from a high ranking civil servant floating down from Olympus to enlighten the masses.

I am sure that many journalists are not happy with this situation. If they left the venue to report about a demonstration that takes place some kilometres away, they would risk missing a summit story. And apart from that, their editors do not seem to be interested in the story at all.

"So, the sad news is, that if the things do not turn out violent at the demonstration, there are no reports," a journalist familiar with EU summits told me.

For me this underlines my thesis on the "success" of this summit: As usual the Heads of States and Governments congratulated themselves after they agreed on the re-labelled EU Constitution.

They boasted that they have managed to get over an institutional crisis, but in fact they just increased the EU's democratic crisis by completely avoiding the citizens. And obviously you should not count too much on the mainstream media to do anything about it.

Thomas Rupp is the coordinator of the European Referendum Campaign


The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans

The fossil-fuel industry is using the carbon removal agenda to get yet more support for failed carbon capture, which is a key component of the pie-in-the-sky carbon removal technologies being promoted by the EU Commission.


The Iranian regime's expiration date

This 'headscarf revolution' is about women's rights and human rights in general, plus police brutality. Moreover, it is a leaderless revolution that is not driven by a leader or a group, but erupted spontaneously.

Let's end Bulgaria and Romania's 11-year Schengen purgatory

The Schengen area is undoubtedly one of the EU's greatest achievements. Unrestricted travel benefits millions of European citizens and businesses. But for Bulgaria and Romania, the EU has yet to make this borderless dream come true.


The Iranian regime's expiration date

This 'headscarf revolution' is about women's rights and human rights in general, plus police brutality. Moreover, it is a leaderless revolution that is not driven by a leader or a group, but erupted spontaneously.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden: Nord Stream probe points to 'gross sabotage'
  2. Orbán rails against Russia sanctions at Prague summit
  3. MEPs urge inquiry into Mahsa Amini killing and Iran sanctions
  4. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  5. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  6. Danish general election called for 1 November
  7. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  8. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. What actually happened at the 'most complicated election in the world'?
  2. Europe lays aside quarrels to isolate Putin
  3. Spyware-hacked MEPs still seeking answers
  4. EU leaders discuss gas price cap — amid rationing fear
  5. Germany braces for criticism of national €200bn energy fund
  6. The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans
  7. Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
  8. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us