Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.5a is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I would like to know how well EU citizens are acquainted with other member-states political figures and parties. Leave your testimonies here regarding how well people in your country are up-to-date with politics in other countries in the EU. I will leave mine as well, after some contributions from others.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Poorly. It would be fascinating to make a survey of the educated Europeans' knowledge in this area. I do not live in the EU, but I have an interest and my guess is that, if you asked British or French graduates to name the heads of state and of government in as many other EUMS as they could, the average correct response would be aorund 10-15%. Maybe not that high. The French slightly higher than the rosbifs. Ask the same types to name any three prominent European politicians, and you will have a low response rate too. Ask them in Britain who is Schumann and you will hear "No idea" or "a composer". Ask them who is Delors and you will hear "Up yours". I have had this conversation before. It says many things about the EU. And I do not mean to isolate teh UK in this comment - you hear many similar response in Germany or in Sweden.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Seilach,

    I would guess that in the UK people can name EU politicians with about the same accuracy as they can name UK politicians, which is very poorly. They could name UK parties which much more accuracy than EU parties, which they won't know at all. Some people may know that the UK Conservative Party is looking to form a new group in the European Parliament but they won't know the existing groupings or the members of those groups. Knowledge of the politians of other member states doesn't depend on politics it depends on if the "foreign" politicians are characters, for example, I imagine every UK citizen knew all about Berlusconi but none know about Prodi.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I know pretty accurately whats going on in Italy, Germany, Austria, France and the UK. The rest I have no clue about. These are also the countries, whose languages I know.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I do my best not to know, both in the UK and the EU. I don't believe in party politics and I don't believe that the names of individuals have any relevance. So far as I'm concerned, I expect my elected representatives to do their very best to represent my wishes and those of and the other constituents. If they start following party policies or listening to whips then they are defrauding both me and democracy as whole.

    In just the same way, if they start putting their own political aspirations or personal beliefs into their work then it's time they go. The very idea of personality-politics is repulsive to me. This fact used to be well understood - notice the way in which the UK parliament does not refer to members by name, but by the constituency they represent. Unfortunately, party and personality politics are both at an all-time high.

    With that in mind, I think it is good that few people are aware of other politicians and parties in the EU. They shouldn't matter, and if they do matter, then it just shows the dire state of democracy in the EU. Or to put it another way, I know most of the senior politicians in other EU states, for example, France has a President, a Prime Minster, an Interior Minister, a Finance minister, a Defence Minister, a Justice Minister, etc.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Well, I was hoping for bit more detail and less general remarks. I’d like to know what specific member-states know about their co-members, and not general views on how Europeans know each other.

    In Portugal, the average person has a rather superficial view of other countries’ domestic politics, which is unsurprising, given our peripheral geographic position.

    There is a reasonable knowledge of Spanish, French and British politics. Chiefs of government are always known, though the French president and prime-minister are often confused. We know the major parties by name and their political positioning, but often not their leaders.

    German and Italian chiefs of government are usually none, but little else. Overall, these political systems are considered complicated.

    Poland, Czech Republic and Austria have one well known and possibly outdated figure: Lech Walesa in Poland’s case and Vaclav Havel in Czech Republic on account of the relevance they had during the fall of the Iron Wall; Haider in Austria due to the scandal around his party’s “victory” a few years ago.

    Regarding the remaining countries, almost nothing is know. The Benelux and Scandinavian countries are monarchies; Ireland, Greece and most of Eastern Europe are republics, and the Finland has or had a president that looked like Conan O’Brien.

    As for politicians in European Institutions, practically only the Portuguese are known in Portugal.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    "As for politicians in European Institutions, practically only the Portuguese are known in Portugal."
    At least they know the most important one :)
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Seileach, with reference to my previous comment, why does it matter if other EU member countries know the names of your politicians? Is it not a bad thing if your politicians become better known than your policies and your actions?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I have a passive knowledge of the parties and politicians of other EU countries. I.e. if you would quiz me right now, I wouldn't be able to name the head of state in Portugal, but hearing of him in the news, I'd recognise his name. But ask me about the First Ministers in the German Bundesländer..., well, I might score 60% on first try. And I do read a newspaper and vote regularly. But I can always look up the info if need should be.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    It matters because people that assume a certain public office don't just come into existence the day before. They have a background. Gheryando supplied the perfect example: While you may know the chairman of the European Commission for two years, I know him for more than ten, as leader of the Portuguese opposition and prime-minister for two years. As such, it might be easier for me to understand his policies and actions and the underlying motivations.

    It may not be very clear at this point, but by "knowing someone" I meant a variety of information about them, including their beliefs and policies. I don't understand how everyone got so hung up on the names...

    My initial point was that, since we're all in the same boat now, so to speak, what one country does affects the others. So, shouldn't we be a little more interested in other member-states' domestic politics?

    But, from another viewpoint, are all EU countries equally self-centered? Or are some more self-centered than others? And if so, why?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Seileach,

    "be a little more interested in other member-states' domestic politics" in the UK election turn out is often less than 30% which indicates that they aren't interested in their own domestic politics. It isn't a matter of being self-centred it is just general apathy.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    What's the point in knowing other EU countries' politicians if you can't influence who's elected?

    The fact that most media only target their national audiences (save for limited exceptions mostly in the English-speaking media) is also an obstacle.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gary and oulematu, you both make good points. However, American elections always get lots of media coverage. Would you agree that the average EU citizen is better informed about American politics than about other European countries' politics?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Seilach,

    American presidential elections get a lot of coverage. I doubt many Europeans could tell you who the governor of Ohio is. Or how many senators there are for Texas or their names or if they have any ministerial positions etc. So all in all, no, Europeans are not better informed about American politics, only well aware of the US President's name (and probably not too aware of US domestic policy).

    We are due to have French presidential elections soon, and Russian ones next year. I'm sure that the BBC will have an all night special for the French election (as they do for US/UK/German elections) but will only report the result of the Russian.