Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-364"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the Eurobarometer data are extremely worrying. Most EU citizens are unfamiliar with the Union’s institutional system. The Commission’s role is seen as either vague or very vague. The Council is virtually unknown as an institution. The citizens’ perceptions are extremely muddled. Many citizens are incapable of expressing a considered opinion on Europe. There is one salient fact running through these data: the citizens want more information and have chosen television as the best means to receive that information. We have seen that theoretical or bland citizenship, some vague feeling of belonging, makes Europe weaker. Europe is viewed more as an abstraction than an important presence in our lives. What we need is not theoretical or bland citizenship, but strong, practical citizenship, a feeling of loyalty, a feeling that Europeans can identify with a Community whose destiny is encapsulated in its universal values. Without this feeling of loyalty and identification, no political project can succeed. Citizenship is the biggest challenge facing a post-national society such as Europe. European citizenship is a product of reason, not of tradition. It needs to be constructed; it is not born spontaneously. This is a new political era, one characterised by sharing and by new forms of governance. It is indeed a time in which the sovereignty of States has shifted to a sovereignty of people. Be that as it may, how ironic is it that the policy does not encourage people to identify with a project that places them at the centre? The Citizens for Europe Programme does not provide an adequate budget or an incisive enough information strategy. Publicity about the institutions – especially on television – showing the institutions and the European project must not be delayed any further. Explaining Europe is vital in forming a feeling for Europe."@en1

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