Porn! Sex! Look this way!


It´s a source of constant worry to the administration of the European Union that connecting with the. common citizen is proving to be so very hard.
It´s not for lack of trying.
The EU commission launches any numbers of activities to reach out – lately it´s been sending the commissioners out to each member country to debate the future of Europe. 30 Million Euros a year has gone into this during the last seven years under the ´Europe for citizens´ program.

Every year the Commission spends well over 100 Mill Euros in rather futile attempts to ´create a European Public Sphere´, or to ´provide the press with tools for better understanding´, including prizes of up to 10 000 EUR for articles ´promoting and stimulating a European identity or the work and thought processes involved in European integration or in European policies´.
Still not connecting with the people…

But of course the answer has been staring us in the face all along.
It only took the mention of the word “porn” in an obscure own-initiative resolution in the European Parliament, several pages long and only a few lines concerning this attention-grabbing subject, to produce headlines in most newspapers, radio and TV stations all over Europe.
´The EU may ban porn.´

No, it won´t.
Of course it won´t.
Own-initiatives never go anywhere, the European Commission is not going to take any notice and act on it.
The European Commission doesn´t even take much notice when they are handed a “Citizen´s Initiative” signed by at least a million citizens from at least 7 different countries, asking for a legislative initiative. The bar, you see, is set so high that so far no initiative has made it. (Reaching out to citizens is one thing, them reaching back seems to be quite another.)

Most journalists know very well the so-called porn ban is not going to go anywhere. But it is still a good story.
The CAP reform, on the other hand, being voted on these days, is not a good news story.
It may concerns all of us, CAP is after all the way the European countries control what our farmers produce and how they produce it – so basically what we are going to be served for dinner (horse meat anyone?)
But it´s not a story easily sold to news editors.
It´s not sexy.

Here´s an idea. If you sneek in the words ´free sex´ in one of the over 8 000 amendments of the legislative proposals for an agricultural reform, I bet you get the attention of media and the European citizens.
You may even get people realizing that a grand reform of the European agriculture policy is about to be decided on.
The EU will have gotten the attention of the citizens a lot cheaper than the yearly Communications budget.

(Declaration of interest: This story has been written partly in the hope of winning any future EU Journalism Award for  ´stimulating thought processes involved in European policies´.)