GT in the EU

An extraordinary education

Author: Evan Long

Marching with Marxists

I spent the weekend after Dublin in London. My first day there was a packed one: a concert in Hyde Park, a West End Live Event in Trafalgar Square, picnics in St. James Park, a street play in Piccadilly.

And a 250,000 person protest at Parliament. (or a 70,000 person protest. Depends on the political leaning of your source)

I stumbled upon an anti-austerity protest that went from the Bank of England to the Houses of Parliament. The road was filled with thousands of marching people holding up signs saying “no more cuts” or “end Tory rule.” Never before have I seen so many unflattering pictures of David Cameron’s face. It was very peaceful and unusually silent as not many protestors were cheering or chanting as they walked. The story changed as I followed the march to Parliament. Massive crowds stood around loud speakers listening to and cheering with the leaders of the protest. Downing Street was packed with policemen, and by graffiti covered wooden barriers guarded monuments. I was upset to see people climbing and smoking on the statue of Winston Churchill, so much so that I said out loud, to myself, how disrespectful that was. The people around me heard me, and instantly and passionately began to explain why Churchill was evil. Surprisingly they never once mentioned his politics, but instead called him a war criminal. I walked away. I had had enough of the screaming.

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Fleishman Hillard visit: Democracy and Competition

Yesterday, June 12, we had the opportunity to visit Fleishman Hillard, a international public relations and consulting firm. We had three speakers who told us a little bit about what Fleishman Hillard is, but the main focus of our discussion was the current state of technology and environmental policy in the EU. However, what really stood out to me and what I would like to write about were two relatively undiscussed problems the EU has.
To start, the first speaker brought up an excellent point that after four weeks of intensive study of the EU I had not realized: policies and decision making in the EU is very non-political. In the US, decisions are made with the voters in mind and and policies come about based on what politicians think voters will respond positively to. SInce the EU’s only popularly elected institution is the Parliament, which, despite consistently growing authority with each EU treaty, still remains the weakest of the three main EU decision making bodies. The EU governance is weakly linked the citizens of the EU. This has led to a “Democratic Deficit” in the EU, which may be an underlying cause of the Euroskeptic movement. Maybe that’s the future to the EU surviving: reform in the popular connections of the EU institutions. Anyways, that is something that I believe few people understand about many of the problems of the EU, and Fleishman Hillard, a firm dedicated to EU public relations, seemed very interested in helping solve that problem.

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