An analysis of the current European situation from the perspective of communication and relevant perceptions need to be addressed. During the financial crisis of 2008, the European Commission preferred non-involvement, by technically explaining that the economy is the competence of the member states.
In 2020, after a slight hesitation, the European executive was at the front line of the pandemic, even if it could "hide" again by saying that health policy does not fall under the attributions of the European Union. However, they decided to play the involvement card, and formed a strong front in relation to the supply of masks and also regarding purchasing sufficient vaccines. The leadership position chosen for Europe’s resilience and economic recovery was also something that can be appreciated.
The war in Ukraine has thrown the European Union into a new crisis, even if the impact is still difficult to estimate. Lacking a common defense policy in the true sense of the word, the EU looked unbalanced and weak, (thankfully) quickly moving under the protective umbrella of the United States of America. European coordination with regards to the Russian file was built as gradually as it could, with complex discussions that still raise many questions about the continent's monolithic unity.
The high energy prices are undoubtedly causing the current crisis, and the European Union must be at the control buttons. Of course, some member countries play pragmatically, even to profit, and through the imposed taxes they want to fill the national budgets ravaged by the Covid-19 crisis. Many governments' excuses focus on the neighboring war, and if citizens become tired of this argument they once again blame the EU for the current situation.
Therefore, much is expected from this autumn and Ursula von der Leyen's game in terms of communication with citizens. Charismatic as she is, the President of the European Commission will most likely use the State of the Union intervention in the European Parliament on September 14, 2022 as her new launching pad. Of course there are two files that first need to be addressed: that of the Conference on the future of Europe and that of the European Year of Youth. Both were the strengths of her speech a year ago, but the results to date were deeply disappointing. Much is expected in relation to the current energy crisis, and hopefully the EU will once again get more deeply involved. Revolting civil movements, such as Don’t Pay UK, have started to find its ground in Europe as well, and can cause major shifts in the current structures.
Dan LUCA / Brussels