Swedish Television Interviews Nicolas De Santis on European Branding

Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public service television company with the widest range of programming of all TV companies in Sweden, has interviewed Nicolas De Santis, Gold Mercury President, at the London offices of the European Union.

Nicolas De Santis is an expert in European Union identity issues and branding and has advised the European Parliament and the European Commission on this subject, as well as on the launch of the Euro currency. He also created the cartoon character Captain Euro – Europe’s superhero in the 1990’s to promote Europe and the launch of the Euro to its citizens and the world. SVT will be dedicating a programme to Captain Euro.

“Captain Euro started as a social research experiment to test the feelings, emotions and perceptions of the EU in Europeans and the world. When we launched it, the world was caught off guard with the launch of a European superhero that represented a united Europe. It became an instant media success story that continues to this day,”

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

As the EU identity crisis continues, Gold Mercury will be launching a new programme called BRAND EU about the future of the European Union’s brand, covering issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation. The main aims of the BRAND EU project are to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structure, as well as address the lack of a common European identity and a strong EU brand. Gold Mercury aims to challenge the current complexity, which is associated with the BRAND EU, so that citizens can start to feel closer to Europe.

“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU brand and EU identity as a key barrier to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens in understanding Europe and participating actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. Still today, it can be only understood by academics or experts,”

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

The Swedish Television interview was conducted by Veronica Lilja reporting for Cobra, SVT’s main cultural programme. The prime-time interview will be broadcast across Sweden, in English with Swedish sub-titles in November 2013.

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Brand EU Project: Build a Shared EU Brand Identity to Secure a Common European Future

Gold Mercury International is conducting new research on the future of the European Union’s brand and on issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation.

The main aims of the BRAND EU project are: a. to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structures and b. to address the lack of a common European Identity and strong EU Brand.

“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU Brand and EU identity as a key problem to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens to understand Europe and participate actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. It can be only understood by academics or experts,”

says Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Gold Mercury aims to challenge the current complexity which is associated with the BRAND EU. Both studies will also include interviews with leading national and international political authorities, representatives of the EU, civil society members, academics and other key actors in the EU and within international affairs.

Understanding the Institutional Structure of the EU

The report on the EU’s institutional structure, entitled ‘The Current State of European Union’s Governance & The Need for Greater Political Integration’ will provide an in-depth analysis of the current levels of political organisation in Europe (i.e. national, European, regional, municipal) and will investigate different conceptualisations of the EU’s structure (i.e. federalism, con-federalism, multi-level governance). The report will also provide policy recommendations based on existing research, responding to main areas of criticism including the democratic deficit and the lack of a common European demos.

At the moment, the EU has 27 member countries and 5 have already been given candidate status. However, there are enormous differences in the political organisation of the member states. The interplay between transnational, national, regional or urban levels of political organisation is no longer efficient for the competitiveness and future of Europe.

In order to challenge the current instability in the European context and its global effects, it is critical to analyse the diversity of the political organisation and levels within the EU. This will provide a clear understanding about the different levels of governance in a country and about the changing notions of national sovereignty, a concept which is of the utmost importance in order to understand the current debates about the EU.

The Critical Role of a European Identity & Demos

At the same time, a collective EU identity is missing and citizens often feel disempowered to participate in EU affairs. As the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron argued in his recent EU speech, “disillusionment” with the EU was “at an all-time high”. Mr. Cameron also added that “There is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain”.

However, sharing a common European identity or common ‘esprit de corps’ is critical in order to develop a shared sense of the Brand EU and to promote civic engagement. Developing a shared EU identity would not in any sense presuppose to eliminate national identities but rather to complement them and enrich them. Working towards this direction, Gold Mercury’s report on the lack of a common European identity will investigate the role of identity formation in European citizenship and will provide innovative ways of addressing the core issues relating to the lack of a shared Brand EU identity.

Developing a new Vision for the EU

Gold Mercury International argues that the European Union is a critical institution in global governance which is at a critical point in its evolution. It needs to clarify its purpose, role and future vision to its citizens and the international community in order to progress as a future bastion of stability. The recent economic crisis has manifested the instabilities of the current political system in nation states and the EU, including the lack of unified decision-making, underlining the need for critical discussions about the future levels of political, fiscal and economic integration.

However, policy research and reporting on EU affairs has increasingly become too narrow, focusing only on the negatives perceptions associated with EU membership. The British Prime Minister’s EU speech and his plan for an ‘in/out’ referendum illustrate that Euro-Skepticism and the practices of questioning the EU are a growing force in the UK. As Mr. Cameron mentioned, “We insistently ask: how, why, to what end? But all this doesn’t make us somehow un-European.”

At the same time, U.S. President Barack Obama underlined to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, that the United States “Values a strong UK in a strong European Union”, reminding us that other nations value the unity that the EU brings and want the EU to stay united and prosper with Britain at the heart of it. But a united and prosperous Europe needs a common vision.

The Gold Mercury Brand EU project aims to challenge the frequently unbalanced debates on EU and provide a solid platform to build a framework for a common EU vision which can be shared amongst all EU citizens.

“The Brand EU project aims to re-shape the current debates on the role and future of the European Union and its citizens by analysing and comparing different international political and supranational structures. The EU at the moment is a hybrid with both federal and con-federal elements. It is an imperative that we build Europe around simple concepts and a common vision of why we are all united as peoples in order to build a shared identity,”

says Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

The need to clarify the vision of the EU was also raised by the Independent Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, set up by the European Council. The group’s purpose was to identify, analyse and propose solutions to the challenges that the EU will be facing at the horizon 2030. Their report underlined that:

“The EU needs to communicate a common vision of how Europe can secure its future. The choice we face is therefore clear: build on the strengths of the EU and use its collective weight to become an assertive and relevant player in the world, or cultivate fragmentation and contemplate the possibility of absolute decline in a world where rules are defined by those who matter.”


For more information on Gold Mercury International and this story contact Kate Delaney Send Mail

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Gold Mercury International Board Member Enrique Baron Crespo Presented with the Gaziel Book Prize for his Autobiography

Enrique Baron Crespo, former President of the European Parliament (1989-92) and Gold Mercury International Advisory Board member has been presented with the Gaziel Prize for his book, Need More Europe? The Gaziel Prize is granted by the Conde de Barcelona Foundation. The book has been lauded as "a superb analysis about political history including the author’s most important anecdotes in such history".

Baron’s autobiography covers his life story but also focuses on the key issues and dilemmas that led to Spain’s political integration into Europe in the latter half of the 20th century. Baron further demonstrates a shrewd and masterful understanding of the three decade long process which saw Spain’s integration into European politics. The lesson that is to be taken from Baron’s book is that more of Europe is needed, a politically and economically integrated Europe where Spain must be confident and fully believe in European integration if it is to continue moving forward. Baron fought hard to incorporate the concept of “European citizenship” in the Maastricht Treaty as a way to incorporate Europeans in the EU project.

Perhaps the most telling and essential part of Baron’s book is his recognition that confidence in the European Union is rattled by problems that are not purely economic. Rather, the EU is also plagued by uneasy political and social issues. Indeed as Baron notes; “Solidarity is important,” ultimately Europe must “patiently work every day with suggestive and rational proposals” to create a united political, economic and “socially based democracy.”

Bold, realistic and necessary statements are further mentioned throughout Need More Europe? as Baron recognises that “confidence” and “solidarity” in the European Union “ are low.” His solution surmises the theme of the book: “The EU is a pioneering project in the globalisation process but it cannot just stay an economic project and leave people behind, it is also a social project. Europe has delivered peace, it has created a single market and a world currency, it has changed history, this is undeniable”.

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  • Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid
  • Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid
  • Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid
  • Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid
  • Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid

Gold Mercury Chairman Attends the VI Latin-America European Union Meeting in Madrid

Gold Mercury International attended the VI International Meeting European Union - Latin America, a strategic alliance in Global Economic Governance which was held in the European Commission Building in Madrid. Abou the importance of the strategic alliance for growth and development.

In the VI International Seminar E.U-Latin America was organised by the Euro America Foundation, the European Commission and the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB). Participating in the seminar were diplomatic representatives from Spain, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia. All stressed the economic strength of the Latin American region but also the continuing social challenges. The importance of the internationalisation of European SME’s, especially in Latin America was also discussed during the seminar. This and other issues were analysed by experts from both sides of the Atlantic, as a prelude to the XXII Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Governments, which will take place next November in Cádiz.

“Some countries need what other countries can build or create. Some countries have the knowledge but are still laying off workers for lack of demand, due to a lack of funding from international markets. To generate demand for the knowledge, countries or their companies must finance those countries that need their products. This would create jobs on both sides of the equation. This is economics 101. Latin America needs products and services that the E.U can provide, including infrastructure, education and better health systems. At the same time Latam needs foreign direct investment to pay for such things. Governments and the private sector must work together and find the right formulas and business models to finance such growth and create jobs in a sustainable way. This represents an opportunity for growth worldwide and an example of positive collaboration in advancing sustainable global governance,” said Gold Mercury Chairman Eduardo De Santis.

Ambassadors from the different Latin American countries stationed in Spain as well as European Commission representatives have emphasised the importance of strengthening trade ties between Latin America and Europe as a way to help overcome the economic crisis on this continent. It would promote investments in Latin America to meet the challenges of a better distribution of wealth and the fulfilment of debts. The Commercial Attache of the Embassy of Mexico in Madrid, Francisca Mendez, said that currently there is a turning point in relations between the two regions, “this is a moment of crisis and we must build on a different dialogue,” she said.

Ambassador of Guatemala, Ana Maria Dieguez, and that of Costa Rica, Liliana Sevilla, highlighted the signature of the agreement between the E.U and Central America scheduled for Friday in Honduras, believing that it will invigorate trade relations, encourage new business opportunities and establish a free trade area. Ambassador Dieguez has also underlined the importance of establishing a permanent dialogue between European and Latin American ambassadors.

Ambassador of Peru, Francisco Eguiguren, has stressed the importance of the free trade agreement signed this week between the E.U, Peru and Colombia, calling it “the most extensive and important in the history of their country”. He said that the agreement includes almost all of the products they export to the E.U, as well as intellectual property protection laws and the development of environmental and social policies.

Furthermore Eguiguren pointed out that the trade between Peru and the E.U increased by an average of 15 per cent annually between 2001 and 2011, to settle at 12,490 million (10,000 million euros) last year. This exchange now equates to 28 per cent of its total trade, with high growth potential. Similarly, 51.8 per cent of foreign investment in Peru originates in the E.U. However Eguiguren declared that his country still needs international cooperation for continued development.

Similarly, Ambassador of Ecuador, Aminta Buenaño stressed that for the first time Latin America can be part of the solution to the crisis in Europe, by being considered a strategic business partner. However, it recognised that Latin America must confront important social issues such as higher education and health coverage as well as the reduction of poverty and inequality. She has also expressed confidence that relations between the two regions will become more extensive and productive.

The Ambassadors of Panama and Colombia, Roberto Arango and Orlando Sardi have stressed the importance of foreign investment, in particular European investment in Latin America by promoting the development of infrastructures, industry and technology, amongst other areas.

For its part, the commercial attaché of the Embassy of Chile, Francisco Fuenzalida said that Europe has lost ground in trade with Latin America, hence the importance of reinvigorating economic relations. He recalled that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both regions is almost 30 per cent of the global economy. The seminar also included an address by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Tena who highlighted the intention of Europe to regain the dominant position in its relations trade with Latin America, a position which has fallen behind Asia and America.

Ambassador of Denmark in Spain, Lone Dencker Wisborg whose country holds the E.U Presidency indicated that they too have worked hard to strengthen ties with Latin America.

During the event Benita Ferrero Waldner, President of the Euroamérica Foundation and Member of Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board said:

“the strengthening of trade relations between Latin America and the European Union is a critical alternative to maintain the economic growth achieved in recent years and encourage development in this moment of crisis.”

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Europe Needs a Revolution…of Minds

This opinion article about Europe by Gold Mercury President and Secretary General Nicolas De Santis was published in the New York Times and in the Entrepreneur Country Magazine in June 2012.

Following the ravages and bloodshed of WW1 and WW2, we Europeans later inherited a Union without much bloodshed or a revolution. Hence we do not understand it well, appreciate it or value it. We take it for granted, and this is the real tragedy as our apathy and failure as European people can destroy it and once destroyed it cannot be put back together. By taking for granted the EU we take for granted peace, human rights and the still unrealised potential of the single market.

Non Europeans value the EU more than Europeans as they have always looked at it as a miracle of global governance in an uncertain world.

The EU, as I have been told in London by Eurasian Economic Commission Minister Tatiana Valovaya is being emulated by the Eurasian Union and other nations as an example of stability and economic progress by cooperation.

Yes, Europe has been built by statesmen and bureaucrats distant from the citizens and requires further democratic accountability. We all know this. And this is a failure. But don’t national or local governments suffer from the same problem today? Nobody is perfect. Nationally our politicians use the European Union as they please to their convenience as an instrument of policy or as a scapegoat to win tiny political battles at home while weakening all of us Europeans on a global scale. Thank you very much for your political wisdom. Similarly as recently shown a weak Europe makes countries such as the USA feel weaker and worried. No wonder.

We live in an uncertain world but our disunion would make it even more uncertain and dangerous. If our union collapsed or we lost the Euro we can immediately guarantee that we would all independently become weaker and live in totally unpredictable and chaotic environments. Other players in the international scene (fill yourself the blanks here) would move in and take advantage against us in economic, security, environmental, energy and other terms. Can any European nation acting alone now guarantee energy security or gas supplies from the east? You get my drift. At the same time, the nations that today still look at the EU as a beacon of hope and progress would have no recourse but to look elsewhere for guidance. We would have to hope that they do not look to the wrong places. Case in point: Arab spring nations and other emerging democracies.

The people with a case against the EU or the Euro, use loss of national identity and sovereignty as key points, but fail to propose a better model for Europe. They only cry for disunity but propose no alternative but separation or a looser union or just the need for a common economic area.

They deceit people by omission and justify their cry to freedom only using the words: WANNA BE RUN FROM BRUSSELS? What they do not explain is that Brussels is run by people from all European Union nations and not a conspiracy of chocolate eating Belgian Nationals.

Now, do not blame the Euro. The Euro is a global success story. It is used daily by some 332 million Europeans and is one of the major reserve currencies together with the US dollar, Japanese yen, Pound sterling and Swiss franc. The biggest failures have been the financial and banking sectors and our national governments. We are still rescuing banks and governments and many more will have to be rescued. Do not blame the Euro, blame the irresponsible bankers and governments that managed their affairs irresponsibly and lied to their people and the people of the EU and the world. Also what is this media nonsense of some countries leaving the Euro?

New York has not gone back to the New York Pound or requested the elimination of the Dollar even with the weakest American economy in history. Detractors of the Euro grow up and move on or move aside. Do not waste our time as we have to focus on real solutions.

We now need a revolution of young minds to rescue the European project. I say young minds as Europe needs the leap of faith that requires thinking without prejudices or we stand no chance to make Europe strong again. And we need more Europe (unity) not less. Perhaps this crisis is our revolutionary time to think about the EU project and understand its true value and why we need to support it. Now it is time for all Europeans to decide what they want. To stay in and actively participate as full members of the European Union (and yes claim more democratic powers) or leave and write letters to the darkness of the past. Most surely the letters would soon be replied to from the ghosts of uncertainty, instability and destruction.

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