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