East Midlands MEP condemns £200m EU propaganda plan

Plans to spend more than £200 million promoting “better understanding of the EU” were unveiled by the European Commission today.

Against a background of financial turmoil in the eurozone and austerity measures across the continent, commission vice-president Viviane Reding announced a “Europe for Citizens” programme. It will set out to help people “become aware of the different aspects of European citizenship” through think tanks, citizens’ groups and other civil society organisations.

A commission press release promised the €229 million programme would promote “better understanding of the EU, its history and values, and knowledge of the impact of EU policies on their daily lives. Under the remembrance part of the programme, citizens engage in a reflection on the history of European integration, its identity and its goals.”

Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, Emma McClarkin, condemned the scheme as “propaganda, pure and simple”.

She said:

“This is conclusive evidence, as if we needed it, that the EU leaders have entirely the wrong priorities. No price is too great to make the EU look well, but they can’t be bothered to make it work well.

“So they cheerfully spend a fortune on a PR programme to promote a failed federalist project. Nearly a quarter of a billion to tell taxpayers that black is white.”

In its announcement, the commission said the new project would run from 2014 to 2020, replacing a current programme with only a “modest” budget of €215 million.

Miss McClarkin added:

“This shows again the arrogance of the EU mandarins who simply believe that citizens ‘don’t understand the EU’. The people understand the euro crisis very well. The Commission don’t understand how angry people are: about the euro crisis, about the abuse of taxpayers’ money – about them!

“It’s time for the EU to listen and take action for the people they are supposed to work for and stop trying to peddle propaganda promoting the means to their own ends.”

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