The Public Affairs of Sunshine

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

For the first time since the French and Dutch rejection of the Constitution, Europhiles can feel sunlight on their faces, says Tom Spencer, executive director of The European Centre for Public Affairs (EPCA).

According to Spencer, “the political weather for the European Union seems to be benefiting from a shift in the intellectual jet stream”. 

Despite misgivings, Spencer argues, the June Summit went more smoothly than might have been expected in its efforts to produce the draft Reform Treaty, thanks to the combination of a successful German Presidency, a new French president and British prime minister prepared to ignore demands for a referendum, which “lifted the gloom that has pervaded European circles”. 

For the author, the problem with Europe has resulted from both sides of the debate failing to “see Europe as it is…Both were cocooned in their own frames of reference.”

And, in keeping with the ‘sunshine’ theme, Spencer also highlights public affairs practicioners’ influence concerning the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), calling for an effective trade association to be introduced for the promotion of concentrated solar power (CSP). 

“Governments in gloomy Northern Europe tend not to give proper thought to a technology that does not immediately seem to fall within their geographic potential. 

“The technical and geo-political case for CSP linked to an HVDC grid looks to me to be overwhelming.”
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