Friday 10 April 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (79): Can You Hear Me Europe?

Looks like the Commission, in co-operation with MTV, is getting something done ahead of the European Parliament elections.

A youth campaign under the label
Can You Hear Me Europe?
is trying to get the voices of young voters, both in the campaign and on the ballots in June.

Poland in the EU had already put to our attention a campaign spot running on MTV some days ago, but I have to admit I didn't really get it when I saw it. I wasn't even interested, because the message of what was going on did not make it into my brain.

Yet, having a look at the campaign website, I see that the goal is to collect the voices of the European youth in a collective shout, making the campaign motto "Can you hear me Europe" echo across the Union.

The "big shout" shall take place on 30 April 2009, at 15.30 and everyone is invited to record their own shouts and to upload them to MTV for a special show which will be broadcasted ahead of the elections.

In addition, three major events are supposed to be organised by MTV in Milan, Berlin, and Prague, the locations are displayed on the site.

I don't know whether this will work, especially since 30 April is a school and working day, but maybe with the help of Twitter - the campaign organisers have introduced a special hastag #CanEUhearme - we'll be able to get some crowd out there that shouts at Europe.

If things go well, other cities should also manage to organise their own mass events, co-ordinated by Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else is out there to communicate collectively. Flash mobs could be funny, too...

I think I will try to be in Berlin on that day and time, and to shout with the crowd, how big or small it may be.

Who will shout with me?

Update: After reading two rather negative posts, by Bruno Waterfield and Pubic Affairs 2.0 - they both sound like old guys who don't like the slogan or criticise the lack of content - I would like to add some reasons why I am favouring this campaign, although I am not fully convinced that it will work:

Europe is more than just the right message, Europe is more than just good arguments, Europe is also a feeling, it is a new focus of attention; Europe still is a question mark where you don't know whether you are actually heard when you shout. Maybe you just disturb your neighbour.

Having something like shouting for or at Europe will exactly raise the questions that are important to ask: At whom are we actually shouting? Who will hear us? Is this enough? What can we do in addition?

I admit, shouting a simple question is not very intellectual. It doesn't transport a particular message. But it is easy to do. It doesn't exclude those who don't know much about EU politics. It doesn't exclude those who are europhile or those who are eurosceptic.

But if it works, it will bring together young people who will be aware of European Parliament elections and who might make their peers aware of these elections. It might create room to discuss Europe and European politics. And although this particular campaign is "patronising", coming from above, it offers a starting point for more creative activities, new events, videos etc.

Because if we are willing to do more, we won't let ourselves patronise, we will create and recreate - and Cédric has shown how you can use a campaign from above and to remodel it creatively. Sometimes it needs a stupid little event-based campaign to get the ball rolling!

Read also: Kosmopolit's post "EP elections made cool(er)"

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

For an overview over all articles in this category have a look at the overview article.

For the five newest post see also the sidebar.


TheBoilingFrog said...

Bruno Waterfield does make a good point though that the people of Europe have already spoken (when given the chance)in the form of referenduma in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, and that's not forgetting the ones on the single currency and the Maastricht Treaty.

So it's a bit disengenous for Europe's message to be; 'Can you hear me' when, every time it's confronted with a response it doesn't like,'t listen.

Regarding the forthcoming EU elections, going by the latest polling in the UK which shows the extreme party, the BNP, doing well, Europe is probably going to get another message it doesn't like.

Julien Frisch said...

I think that there is a difference between the referenda in which the ratification of a "Constitution" or "Reform Treaty" are rejected and the election of the European Parliament, which is an existing reality.

The question is also whether in the referenda "Europe" has been rejected, or certain European (and national!) politics.

In the end, it is pretty okay if eurosceptic parties are elected into the EP, because indeed this is a message to the European Union. But it would be better if this vote is based on thorough discussion, in particular among young people (some of them weren't even allowed to vote in the referenda some time ago), and we therefore need a youth that is aware of these elections, which is the aim of the campaign discussed in this post.