The deficiencies of EU's information activities
A cursory view of the information activities of European institutions gives the impression of a flood of documentation - coming mainly from the Commission - rather than of an information drought. But floods can be more harmful than droughts, if the soil is not prepared to receive the overflow. In this case, the soil is totally unprepared, because the citizens do not and never will make an effort to get the existing information, but rightly expect that they will be automatically informed, through their familiar media, about European affairs and decisions that are of interest to them. When they say in Eurobarometer surveys that they want to be informed about the institutions and policies of the EU, they mean that this information should come to them, not that they should go after it. Useful as they are to interested persons (researchers, interest groups and other specialists), the Commission publications and Internet sites are ignored and are therefore useless for the large majority of citizens.
Indeed, information by the Commission suffers from two inherent defects. Firstly, it is addressed to a few initiated persons rather than to the average citizen, who does not read sophisticated publications or surf in the Europa server of the Commission. Secondly, information by the Commission reflects mainly its own proposals rather than the policies decided upon by the governments of the Member States and the Parliament of the peoples of the Union. Therefore, journalists and through them the public get the - partly right - impression that, through its information activities, the Commission defends its own policies rather than the common policies of the Member States.
The result of information deficiency, combined with disinformation on the part of eurosceptic media, is the indifference or, worse, the dissatisfaction of citizens, who quite sincerely believe that, instead of progressing in the field of European unification, the European Union is a theatre of infighting among European politicians; that it is totally unable to monitor global phenomena - such as globalisation, climate change and international conflicts - and that it is even responsible for some of their national problems, such as unemployment and the cost of living. It is this mismatch between high expectations and totally or partly false perceptions of the public that endangers European unification. The indifference and/or dissatisfaction of citizens, demonstrated in European elections, opinion polls and referendums, must be recognised as a major failure of the integration process and a grave danger for its future.