EU to spend £225 million on propaganda campaigns

Telegraph
08.05.2011
By Bruno Waterfield

Europe to spend £225million on army of 1,000 spin doctors to promote EU

The European Commission will next year spend over £225million on propaganda campaigns and the employment of over one thousand spin doctors to sell the EU to a hostile public.

The costs of “communicating” the EU are contained in the small print of an inflation-busting Brussels budget that will cost British taxpayers an additional £682 million in 2012.

Almost half the cost, £115 million, will be spent on administration and the 1,078 staff who work in the commission’s directorate general for communications.

Another £84 million is earmarked for “informing about European policy and better connecting with citizens” and £7 million will used on events, including a “Year for Citizens 2013″.

Publicity promoting “Europe for citizens” will cost £25million.

Mats Persson, the director of the Open Europe campaigning group, said: “British taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for PR exercises that vainly try to make them love the EU. The EU needs reform not more spin.”

A commission spokesman defended the spending. “The 258 million euros for communications amounts to less than 0.2 per cent of the overall budget, and the commission has frozen its own budget,” he said.

An example of “information” produced by the commission describes the EU budget as a way of “building our common future”.

“The focus of spending decisions is on meeting the challenges of the modern world to our society in the interests of a better life for the citizens of the EU,” says an “explanatory” leaflet.

Internal commission documents require EU-funded communication campaigns not to be “neutral” and for them to take a “didactic stance” with the aim of “boosting awareness of the Union’s existence and legitimacy, polishing its image and highlighting its role”.

Projects that are part commission spending next year include £31million over four years on “information events” targeting journalists.

“Informing journalists in a proper way about the EU and its institutions is an important step since they are the link between these two parties. “Journalists get more targeted and precise information and the tools they need to provide citizens with qualified, reliable and timely coverage of the EU.”

Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, attacked a “sinister” attempt to “indoctrinate” journalists. “Do they think journalists, or the public, are stupid? No amount of money or PR can make people like the EU or stop the press reporting the political reality of Brussels.”

Full article

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