Blog and Media Review of EU 2020

, von  13Utopia, Peter Toftlund

Blog and Media Review of EU 2020

The 2020 strategy is going to put Europe back on the map. The European Commission recently put forward its vision for the next 10 years. A vision that is going to ensure a greener, more competitive and economically stronger Europe that works for its citizens. Crucial for the interest and level of participation amongst citizens is a good and relevant communication strategy. The Commission acknowledge this and has promised to do its part in securing that Commission activities are successfully communicated to citizens all over Europe – especially the topics of economic recovery, new sources of growth, and the environmental agenda is going to be in focus. This all sounds very good, but how are they actually putting them into action?

Communicating Europe

Are the people of Europe aware of what the Commission is up to these days? We have scoured the mainstream online media to see whether this new 2020 strategy has caught the eye of European citizens in general. Generally, online versions of mainstream broadsheet papers e.g. of Britain, Germany and Denmark have covered the 2020 strategy, though the coverage differs a lot from country to country and from paper to paper. From little or no mention in a few papers, to a comprehensible and relevant summary of the main lines in others. Especially the German Zeit and Danish Politikken have done well in outlining the topics of the 2020 strategy. Many British online papers have not engaged directly in the topic but merely mentioned its connection with more specific British issues. Predictably, tabloids have been a lot more reluctant to cover the 2020 strategy to say the least. Most German and English tabloids do not seem to have shown any interest in the 2020 strategy. Surprisingly though, Danish tabloids BT and Ekstrabladet have actually both been able to produce an article on the new strategy. Two very negative articles but articles none the least.

Blogosphere

It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the European blogosphere. Presumably, the news coverage concerning the new “Europe 2020” agenda will be discussed in more detail by bloggers who are keen on taking a closer look at European politics. Maybe we will find some interpretations that are more critical towards the programme or more supportive. By browsing through well-known web portals we find a more diverse set of opinions than one may expect. For instance, the blogger Julien Frisch ridicules the agenda by adding such exaggerated claims as all European citizens shall be fluent in Chinese by 2020. He criticises the bureaucratic language of the programme saying

„why can’t we also dream in other areas and formulate these dreams in a strangely bureaucratic language so that nobody can complain if they don’t come true over the next 10 years?“

This kind of style is perhaps typical for blog commentators and seems slightly unconstructive. Nevertheless, he keeps commenting (PDF) on the agenda which is one of the essential claims of “Europe 2020”. It aims at “communicating Europe in a transparent and accessible manner”.

But how do other bloggers interpret the European development plans? Is it only seen as a device for mockery and amusement? And most importantly: does it trigger a constructive exchange of views? In contrast to the earlier mentioned blogger the “Spatz im Gebälk” analyses the economical potential of the 2020 agenda in more detail. His knowledge about the European economy seems thorough and gives the reader the impression of being well-informed. Still, at the moment the predominant topic of many blogs is the Greece financial struggle, for example here or here. That is why the new EU agenda is surprisingly less prominent at the moment.

EU2020 as a part of the EU policy-making

Specialized media like Euractiv rather see the publication of the EU2020 strategy as a step of EU-policy making. Euractiv has a special section dealing with every article related to this strategy, mainly on economical and environmental issues. So the presentation of the Commissions strategy was seen as one more paper dealing with economy.

The four themes seen as most important by the European executive are summarized and analysed. Euractiv is giving (as a press agency) a presentation of the ideas of protagonists and policy-makers rather than making an analysis, even if detailed propositions are presented. For instance, Euractiv explains us the propositions of the Commission to achieve a bank rescue fund or a better coordination of some policy-areas. Euractiv presents the document as a political one, not as the result of any negotiations between governments. The articles also give us a background of the European actuality related to this issue, showing that the release of EU2020 is not something unusual, but has to be understood as a part of an “everyday” European policy-making.

Conclusion As we have seen from the preceding analysis the European media deal to some extent with the EU 2020. The mainstream media are often quite critical and the news coverage is differing from one newspaper to another. Still European politics are criticised from a national point of view or just single issues are highlighted. In comparison, the blogosphere is maybe either more aware of the topic or it doesn’t commit to journalistic standards. One example for a specialised press agency that deals with the EU 2020 in detail is Euractiv. After all, a real European public, as it is claimed in the EU2020, can only be generated by changing the focus from the national or individual perspective to a European one.

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