While it symbolized the failure of national politicians, the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty by the French and Dutch citizens in the referendum of Spring 2005 left the European establishment under the shock: it was evident that both the continuous strengthening of the European Parliament's powers and the Commission's strategy for a good governance were unable to provide a satisfactory answer to the persistent questioning of the EU's legitimacy. In the aftermath of the referendum, everyone seemed to expect a providential but unfortunately not foreseen - plan B, the Commission launched its Plan D for democracy, dialogue and debate with the extremely bold ambition to clarify, deepen and legitimize a new consensus on Europe . Plan D is actually part of a post-referendum initiative package including an action plan for reorganizing the communication activities within the Commission , as well as a consultation process for the launch of a new EU communication policy strategy . Thus, the Commission's approach to the new acceptance crisis proves for a clear focus on communication, which is significant.
[...] For instance, the creation of a European press agency had to be taken out of the first draft of the White Paper after it came under fierce criticism of the journalistic profession, and the Commission was accused of trying to make use of propaganda. The second problem is related to the nature of the project itself. The coming of age of a European public sphere would certainly make the EU a more federal kind of polity. And, indeed, when the Commission asserts that the EU is expected to “offer prosperity, solidarity, and security” and must at the same time work at the emergence of a public sphere by means of civic education, the media, and political parties, one may wonder if it is not a very state-like mission statement. [...]
[...] In the White Paper on a European Communication Policy, the Commission seems to turn away from this view: the new motto is no longer “better regulation” but “shaping a European public sphere”. Means to achieve this are diverse. Already well-known ideas are reminded like for instance the fostering of European fora for public debate and the role of civil society organizations in promoting citizenship. A better openess of European institutions to citizens is also reasserted with transparency and consultation as guiding principles. [...]
[...] Therefore, the White paper shall aim at responding to the shortcomings of the past Addressing policy weak points and “closing the According to Mrs Caparpelli, major flaws of the former Commission's communication strategy consisted in: the absence of common principles, a too much institution- and Brussels-centered practice of communication, and the inadequacy with the modern media landscape. As a response, the White paper identifies common principles: the “right to information and freedom of expression”, but also “inclusiveness”, “diversity”, and “participation”. [...]
[...] The active support of actors at all levels, and especially Member-states, are required to enable the implementation of such measures. But considering the weak popularity of the Commission one the one hand, and the far-reaching consequences such a mutation would have on the Member-states themselves on the other hand, a consensus on the principles set in the White Paper is rather unlikely to emerge at short term. However, the Commissioner for Communication has clearly underlined the need for a long-term commitment similarly to the mobilization around the Single Market project. Whether M. [...]
[...] in: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol No 3. Adrienne Héritier: “Composite democracy in Europe: the role of transparency and access to information” in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol No p European Commission, “White paper on a European Communication Policy”, COM(2006) p Idem, p Idem, p Sarah Seeger, Das Weißbuch der Kommission über eine europäische Kommunikationspolitik ein Neuanfang europäischer Kommunikation?, CAP Aktuell, No February 2006, p available at http://www.cap- lmu.de/download/CAP-Aktuell-2006-01.pdf European Commission, “White paper on a European Communication Policy”, COM(2006) p Claes [...]
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