With the Venice Film Festival in full swing, European Council boss Donald Tusk dropped a trailer for this year’s hottest blockbuster. Now that the race to be the next Commission president has well and truly begun, wannabe Junckers should take a leaf out of the Pole’s political playbook.
Coming up this autumn: manly handshakes, slow-motion walks to camera, glamorous international travel and meet-and-greets with world leaders.
Tusk’s teaser trailer for his next four months did indeed feel like someone had shared an inside joke, but once you’ve watched it two or seven times, you begin to see the genius of it.
What’s the biggest problem facing the upcoming European elections? Simple: low turnout. Voter numbers have been decreasing every year since 1979 and a similar poor showing in 2019 could land us with a large anti-EU/Eurosceptic contingent in the Parliament.
After all, the failure of tens of millions of Brits to bother to go out and vote, it could and should be argued, is the reason why the United Kingdom narrowly voted to leave the EU.
But a large part of the problem is that the EU is either deemed irrelevant by Europe’s electorates or, maybe worse still, too boring to waste any time on.
Many projects that try to liven up the work of the Brussels machine and humanise the good people that run it often fall short of their mark. To the cynical among us, they either seem twee or cronyistic. The Parliament’s latest “This time I’m voting” campaign also fails to inspire (this writer anyway).
So you have to see the merits in Tusk’s attempt to liven things up a bit. It’s clearly meant to be an ironic look at the work of the Council president, a job that has only existed since 2009 and which some now want to merge with the Commission presidency.
Speaking of which, anyone hoping to land the top job next year should grab a camera and start filming. Let’s turn the race for the Berlaymont throne into a who-can-produce-the-best/worst-video competition instead?
I’m talking soothing how-to-knit videos from Maggie Vestager, wine-tasting and mountain-climbing travel segments from Michel Barnier and highlight reels of Maroš Šefčovič’s epic tennis battles with Jyrki Katainen.
(Manfred Weber is welcome to participate too but we’ll need some subtitles if he insists on doing it in German…)
Simply put, the more the EU pokes fun of itself, the better its chances of surviving and thriving.
***Correction: Yesterday, the editor of The Brief incorrectly referred to Jorge Valero as a “Sith Lord”, when he is in fact merely an “apprentice”.***
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Views are the author’s