EU propaganda: you never knew it was this bad!

America, Land of the Free

My former staffer Sally McNamara, now Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, has researched a particular aspect of EU propaganda which I found shocking.  It will horrify EU tax-payers, and it has certainly affronted the Americans.

We are all too familiar with the EU promoting itself within Europe, planting stories in the media, funding groups of journalists to visit Brussels and to travel with senior eurocrats, publishing children’s comics promoting Captain Euro, and funding Jean Monnet chairs at British universities.  But until this shock report, I had no idea that the EU was actually spending rather large sums — 250 million pounds over the last three years — promoting left-wing causes in America.

The EU has budget lines to promote democracy and good governance in countries where liberty is at risk.  There may be a case for this activity in Kosovo and the Ukraine — and also in Croatia (which curiously has been approved as a new accession state to the EU).  But in America?  In the land of the brave and the home of the free?  In a country that shares a Judeo-Christian cultural heritage, and whose models of governance and jurisprudence owe a significant debt to the UK, and to the Enlightenment?  A country whose Constitution is the very model of a free society — and compares amazingly well with the EU’s own clumsy attempts at a Constitution.

As my colleague Dan Hannan has put it, the US Constitution enshrines the rights of the citizen against the government, whereas the EU’s failed effort did exactly the opposite, asserting the rights of the EU over the citizen.  And now the EU is promoting democracy in the USA?

Read the report.  Promoting the International Criminal Court: $1.4 million.  (Remember all the perverse judicial decisions we have seen in the UK as a result of our subservience to a foreign court, the European Court of Justice?).

Fighting the death penalty: $3.1 million.  Our taxpayers’ money is spent opposing the death penalty in the USA, although repeated opinion polls show that UK voters broadly approve capital punishment.

Promoting alternative energy:  It’s not enough that the EU seeks to deindustrialise Britain by imposing gratuitously expensive wind farms on us: they must promote the same wasteful approach in the US.  Fortunately the US is falling out of love with wind energy, in favour of cheap and plentiful natural gas.

Plus all the usual stuff about promoting “information” about the EU in America, and no doubt seeking to extend the EU’s “model of governance” that has done us so much damage here at home.  They’ve even promoted the closing of Guantanamo, although the EU has not offered alternatives for sequestering the terrorist suspects who remain there.  They’re giving our money to leftist think tanks and advocacy groups, and to universities.

I had the privilege on Thursday of proposing to the International Working Group of the American Legislative Exchange Council, here in New Orleans where I write, a motion censuring these activities of the EU, and I am delighted to say that it was passed by a wide margin, and will now be sent both to the US State Department and to the EU institutions.  ALEC is a national US organisation of many hundreds of state legislators, and so represents a broad swathe of American opinion, legitimised through the ballot box.  But I won’t hold my breath waiting for the EU Commission to respond.

This is activity by the EU which should offend both EU citizens, on account of the wasteful and inappropriate spending, and American citizens, as an affront to their freedom and democracy.  Quite an achievement on the part of the EU.

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3 Responses to EU propaganda: you never knew it was this bad!

  1. Jonathan Ward says:

    I have read the report, but don’t see where exactly the $250 million figure comes from, nor what constitutes left-wing in this case.

    The total spent on renewable energy schemes and discourse is under £400k. As this is a large and increasing industry in EU member states this is only fair. What would you remark if the same figure were for the auto-industry?

    And again, I ask, why is this ‘left-wing’, ditto for for the death penalty abolition? Do you mean politically, liberalism, or human rights liberalism as opposed to socialist economic-political policies? Social democrats?

    As for your objection to the ICC, it is an international court that is at least trying to hold people to account globally so no-one is above the law. It is a not an EU institution, and it deals with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other such grave offences. It only takes up cases when the judicial systems of nation states have failed to take up cases adequately. For instance Darfur. Why would you object to such an institution? Why would it be left-wing? Or are you saying ‘right-wing’ people have no need for such laws, or merely disregard them? Or traditional modes of jurisprudence and justice suffice?

    Donating money to universities – I would not object in principal, depending on what it achieves. If it promotes EU-US relations, exchanges, knowledge transfer, I say go for it. There are after all schemes like this around the world.

    As for it being an affront to Americans, their foreign aid goes to a number of such schemes around the world. E.g. http://blogs.forbes.com/brianwingfield/2011/01/29/making-sense-of-u-s-foreign-aid-to-egypt-and-elsewhere/ – supporting NGOs in Russia and Cuba to promote human rights, democracy etc.
    Elsewhere money has been denied to groups that merely even promote debate on reproductive issues such as abortion. This is overtly political.

    As for the comparative levels of democracy. I don’t think either are what they should be in practice. and the EU is not a nation state (yes I know the case is made they are both federal areas).

    If anything, the best federal system around that I have seen is Germany’s, set-up with a lot of thought from the occupying allied nations and Germany. It is a system that is representative, has regional and ideological representation and balances and checks, and a more pluralistic approach than the 2 party US system, and the almost three party UK system (in effect).It also has a useful second chamber that is democratic unlike ours!
    Anyway, I think all our democracies should be learning from each other, and adapted to the context of the cultures and geography.

    I don’t think the EU should spend a lot on PR, little in fact, but I don’t mind it trying to advance basic human rights, promoting education and cultural exchange, and issues that the majority of EU member states feel are important.

    I don’t think it should act as a trade ambassador for EU industries, car or renewables personally, but as it evolved from a trade block, I guess it is inevitable.

  2. Heather Alibakir says:

    Please pass this on and ask your friends to sign the petition for a referendum on the EU.

  3. From 2007 through 2009, the European Union spent $1.23 billion in the United States according to the European Commission’s Financial Transparency System.

    The Financial Transparency System states that 171 payments were made to projects involving the United Nations from 2007 through 2009; 29 payments were made to projects involving the World Bank in this period. The total combined expenditures for these projects were €572 million ($846 million). The rest was spent on projects/policies as outlined in the report.

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