- Oct 26, 2006
The European Commission has just flown 15 Irish journalists to Brussels for a two-day information visit. Or as those of us who know Brussels and talk straight would put it, for a two-day, two-night taxpayer-funded propaganda junket at a four-star hotel.
Ireland and the other eurozone countries might be suffering savage spending cuts, but the EU self-publicity budget thrives: in 2008 the Open Europe think-tank calculated that the EU was spending at least 2 billion a year on information.
Much of it bent, which is to say, propaganda. The commission actually admits that its information is bent. One of its publications declares: Genuine communication by the European Union cannot be reduced to the mere provision of information.
The EU propaganda machine pumps money into lobby groups that support ever closer union. They push propaganda into schools. And almost more than anything else, they target the Press. Journalists are offered free trips and training (yes, just like Scientology offers training). The EU gives out cash prizes to on-message journalists.
I found this article today by mistake. It was written by an American covering the EU parliament in Brussels. It asks in the title of the article Is this how the EU got a Yes to Lisbon from the Irish? - Mail Online - Euroseptic: Mary Ellen Synon in Brussels Is this really what we send our MEPs to Europe for? and is the EU controlling what information is provided to Ireland by controlling the Irish media through 'perks'?Here are the figures, as from this professional accountant: the MEPs entertainment budget for next year has jumped from 1,105,200 to 2,047,450. Yet the five Irish MEPs at this propaganda-fest denied it in front of 15 Dublin journalists plus me. Unless I could identify the exact budget line for them right then, the MEPs said they wouldnt admit such a thing could have happened.
The other journalists, unused to the ways of the parliament, couldnt make anything of it. But I will give credit to Mairéad McGuinness, who, despite being indignant about my suggestion, had her staff check it. She came back to me a couple of hours later with a piece of paper showing the figures for a budget line labelled Entertainment and representation expenses. There it was: the huge jump in the entertainment budget that the Irish MEPs had all earlier denied could exist.