Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

EU accused of pooling money for propaganda purpose

The Bruges Group said that the EU is pooling in money in organisations and campaigns with the intention of manipulating public opinion to support the integrationist vision of Europe. With its latest issue 'Federalist Thought Control: The Brussels propaganda machine', the Bruges Group intends to kick-off a campaign against what they described as the EU's undermining of fair democratic debate in Europe. The Bruges Group's fight against the 'Brussels Propaganda Machine' is being supported by various Eurosceptics from across Europe. The Bruges group regards this as an issue of firm importance especially since many European nations are approaching EU related referendums.

EU money allegedly used for propoganda

According to the publication, the EU is spending at least 250 million euro on subsidising pro-EU groups and campaigns, with the consequence of subverting fair and democratic debate as to whether or not Britain adopts the Euro. A few of the British pro-EU movements that allegedly received funds from Brussels are the Federal Trust, European Movement and Britain in Europe.

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However Martyn Bond, director of Federal Trust told EUobserver: "We do not get a direct grant from the EU. We compete for contracts like anybody else. The Federal Trust, which is a research and education institute, was founded in 1945 before the European Commission existed, and we work on issues, which are far beyond European scope. I wish the Bruges Group would check the facts before it opens its mouth."

Commission said it does not instruct how funds are used by organisations

The report 'Federalist Thought Control: The Brussels Propaganda Machine' listed a number of organisations identified as having received money in the year 2000 budget. It said that although inclusion in the list does not automatically indicate propaganda activity, the nature of the budget line (sometimes hundreds of thousands) invites for investigation. The Commission spokesperson for Budget, however, told EUobserver that the EU does not only fund pro-EU organisations, and said that the the Commission does not instruct them how to use these funds.

The three authors, Martin Ball, Robert Oulds and Lee Rotherham say that the EU's final scope extends further than the objective of winning a referendum, and moves more to instil loyalty to a new entity. "The EU is engaged in a systematic policy to manipulate national debate throughout Europe into supporting their views towards EU integration. Their propagandistic activities and millions spent per year promoting their vision of Europe, is threatening democracy. This deeply sinister EU propaganda should stop", Robert Oulds, one of the co-writers and director of The Bruges Group told EUobserver.

Presenting only one side of the picture

The authors said, "public bodies should not be allowed to present only one side of the picture. The Government should stop presenting pro-Euro propaganda as mere information about it and about its consequences." MEP Patricia McKenna, from the Green Party, who is one of the Eurosceptics supporting the campaign, said: "In a referendum the people are being asked for their opinion. This process is made pointless if having asked for their opinion you then tell them there is only one answer they can give and you use their money to convince them that this is true."

Political indoctrination on children

The report reveals that the promotion of the 'European ideal' is reflected into seemingly innocuous events, like student exchanges or the creation of a youth orchestra. It also shows that the greatest targets are school children, where they said that they are often taught EU issues in an unbalanced and partial way. Other examples of 'political indoctrination' they list comics such as 'Caption Euro' and the European Commission's publication 'The Raspberry Ice Cream War', which the British Government agreed that, "This undoubtedly was an ill–judged and, in part, factually inaccurate publication".

Situation mirrored also outside Britain

The situation where public bodies are claimed to use taxpayer money for propaganda, is not an example solely restricted to England. Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde from the EDD group said the European Commission office in Copenhagen works entirely for the 'yes' side. "We even experienced in the 1980s that the Office sent insulting letters about the 'No' side to editors and political opponents without informing us."

This phenomena is also said to be found in the EU applicant countries, where governments are hoping for a positive result in the referenda next year for the countries' EU entry into the EU. Examples can be found in Malta, where the public funded Malta-EU information centre (MIC) is alleged to be using Maltese tax-payers' money for EU propaganda; Czech republic, the Czech PR Agency "Via Perfecta" is led by a wife of one prominent and pro-European politicians in the country; and Poland, where Jan Lopuszanski, a Polish MP said that "the government started its 1 million Euro promotional campaign to convince Poles that the terms of EU membership, still under negotiation, are advantageous for Poland".

EU prepares overhaul of information strategies

The EU Commission is preparing for a complete overhaul of the European Union Communication and Information strategies. A 49-page document, prepared by EU Commissioner Antonio Vitorino in co-operation with the EU Commission President, Romano Prodi, was adopted in the weekly meeting of the EU Commissioners in Strasbourg on Tuesday and negotiated between representatives of the Parliament and the Commission on Wednesday.

The leaked strategy document, which was presented by The Telegraph, outlines a plan to spend 267 million euros over four years to improve the perception that citizens have of the European Union.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Von der Leyen's EU vote far from sure

Unhappy socialist and liberal MEPs could upset German's bid to be next EU commission chief, making an even worse mess in the top jobs system.

Von der Leyen vote the focus This WEEK

MEPs will vote to confirm - or not - on Tuesday the new commission president, Ursula von der Leyen - a candidate put forward at the last minute by the EU leaders, and grilled by lawmakers recently in Brussels.

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

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