‘Europe kit’ to help French officials understand EU

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The French government is preparing a “Europe kit” for ministers and MPs to help them in their work with the EU institutions after the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, French State Secretary for EU Affairs Pierre Lellouche announced this week. EURACTIV France reports.

The move comes as part of a “complete review” of the way the government communicates European issues, Lellouche told a debate at the Quai d’Orsay on 5 October. 

The kit is designed to help French officials understand how the Treaty of Lisbon will change the distribution of powers and the relationship between the European Parliament – the role of which the treaty significantly boosts – the European Commission and the EU Council. 

Meanwhile, socialist Pierre Moscovici, a former French state secretary for EU affairs and current MP for Doubs, spoke of a need to “create a [European] Community culture in the French [political] institutions”. 

Moscovici also urged his colleagues to stop thinking of the Commission as a “machine” and demanded a strengthening of the links between the French administration and the EU institutions. 

The EU executive itself has long called for national assistance in communicating European Union issues to citizens, not least with its 2005 ‘Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate,’ which followed the rejection of the proposed EU constitution in France and the Netherlands (EURACTIV 14/10/05). 

For her part, EU Communications Commissioner Margot Wallström told EURACTIV in an interview recently that although national parliaments had been receiving new proposals and consultation papers from the EU executive since 2006, helping to build “a very different understanding of the Commission” among MPs, this new way of thinking had yet to “trickle down to the political parties and change the democratic culture in every member state” (EURACTIV 09/09/09). 

“We have never before had so many commissioners visiting member states’ parliaments and engaging in debate,” Wallström said, before admitting that “we are still far from adopting a common narrative”. 

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