venerdì 30 novembre 2012

La Palestina fa fallire la politica estera europea

Il voto all'Assemblea Generale dell'ONU potrà pur essere una vittoria per il futuro della Palestina, che da oggi è a tutti gli effetti uno stato osservatore (decisione che secondo molti aprirebbe la strada alla nascita di uno stato palestinese). Potrà pur essere una sconfitta per Israele. Purtroppo, dal nostro punto di vista, ad uscire a pezzi ancora una volta è l'inesistente diplomazia europea che ieri ha votato in ordine sparso sulla risoluzione. Qualcuno si era adoperato sin dalle prime ore nella costruzione di una pilatesca posizione comune, con l'astensione di tutti e 27 gli stati UE. Un tentativo fallito e che ha visto tutti i paesi della sponda mediterranea come Italia, Francia e Spagna, insieme a quelli scandinavi, votare sì. Dall'altro, l'astensione di tutti i paesi dell'est, guidati da Germania e Regno Unito, con la Repubblica Ceca che ha addirittura votato contro. Le identità diplomatiche di ogni singolo paese hanno prevalso, così come le diverse relazioni sviluppate nei decenni tra i vari stati europei e la Palestina. Che i paesi della sponda mediterranea e quelli scandinavi abbiano votato sì non costituisce di per sé una novità. Sono storici i legami tra paesi come l'Italia e la Francia con la causa palestinese e i suoi rappresentanti. Il problema risiede invece nell'astensione degli altri, un fatto che presume l'assenza di una posizione netta e chiara su un tema.

Il voto di ieri non è quindi un fallimento di per sé, ma la conseguenza del datato fallimento europeo nel non saper costruire una posizione unitaria sulla questione israelo-palestinese. E il conflitto dei giorni scorsi ne è un'ulteriore riprova. Egitto, Stati Uniti e Turchia hanno dominato la scena, mentre nessuna cancelleria europea, né tanto meno l'Alto Rappresentante della politica estera europea, Catherine Ashton, hanno dimostrato capacità diplomatiche tali da far inserire il vecchio continente nella risoluzione del conflitto. E questo per via dell'incapacità nel dar vita ad una posizione comune su un tema che riguarda una regione a noi vicina, nonché strategica per la sicurezza del continente.

Quello di ieri è il trionfo dell'Europa degli stati nazionali. Italia, Francia, Spagna e, anche se in maniera pilatesca, Germania e Regno Unito hanno dimostrato di avere una loro posizione. Mentre l'Europa nel suo complesso no. L'ennesima sconfitta per chi sogna un'Europa unita.


sabato 24 novembre 2012

Why Europe is split into two or three

Another hard week for Europe, after Eurozone countries refused to disburse Greece 31 billion Euros loan. On Thursday, EU leaders met in Brussels for a two-days meeting on 2014-2020 budget.  

What came out from the summit was once again the idea of an European Union struggling to find agreement among its member states. If one wanted to speculate, it could be said that EU summit failed, as many newspapers all around the world did. Is that true? 
In times of crisis it is. But there should be no surprise that in their first round EU leaders did not reach an agreement. In fact, there has always been an exploratory meeting in order to understand each country position, which is usually followed by an official summit where leaders agree on the budget. What's new then? 
First of all, the fact that a budget increase - as always happened - is not affordable anymore. Secondly, this was the first time a 27 countries EU budget is likely to be approved, in a situation where more European integration is far to be reached. From now on, it will be harder and harder to find unity on important matters, if things do not change. Actually, there are two or maybe three Europes:
1)Northern European countries such as the UK or Germany which are net paymasters,asking for at least 30 billion of cuts and more control over the budget. EU institutions should adjust to the real world, David Cameron said, playing UK traditional Eurosceptic party pooper role in the whole negotiation;

2)Southern European countries such as Italy or Spain - the first being one of EU big contributors - which do not want to see reductions in the budget, especially in the areas of cohesion policy and CAP, which at the moment seem to be safe from further cuts;

3)Eastern European countries such as Poland or the Baltic ones which are major net beneficiaries and less contribute to the EU budget. These countries, likely southern European ones, complain about cuts in agriculture and cohesion policies.

Angela Merkel believes an agreement is likely to be reached at the start of next year, while EU Council President, Herman von Rompuy, is already working on a new budget proposal. However, it is still hard to say if the budget will be inspired to Europe current needs: control, of course, but also growth and solidarity. In fact, if something failed yesterday, it was the spirit of union between northern rich countries and the poorer south and east.

No surprise that in the very same day budget talks concluded, Draghi warned that the European Central Bank action had prevented a credit crunch. Also reminding the necessity of a bank union and cooperation mechanism, namely more integration, which is EU real need.


venerdì 23 novembre 2012

PR professionals level criticism at EU communication of the crisis

An international online survey led on Corporate Communications professionals by global PR consultants network Infinite Latitude fault European governments for failing to convey clear messages during the Euro crisis. Of 111 senior professionals in 23 markets, 81% said governments had not been able to credibly communicate a path towards a solution of the crisis. Likewise, 77% said governments were failing to present a vision of how a future Europe would look after the crisis.

As a result, only about 4% of respondents think governments have been able to garner support among European publics for the measures taken so far, while about 20% are neutral and about 75% discount this view. Most credit is given to the efforts of authorities to explain the root causes of the crisis – where about 12% think this has been done successfully and about 23% are at least neutral. On these grounds, it may not come as a surprise that a majority, 65%, do not attribute credibility to governments' communication.

Survey statistics
Such figures show how communications is gaining more and more importance among publics. The lesson to be learned from the outcome of the result is that a clear long-term vision and objective, together with a good strategy if properly communicated owns its efficacy. Europe seems to have failed these simple rules which should be the ones of any organization. Especially, if what can come into play is social disorders as those that took place in most southern Europe countries last week.


martedì 6 novembre 2012

US Elections: what does it change for Europe?

What does it change for Europe whether Obama orRomney wins tonight's elections? Nothing! Sad but true, Europe does not matter to whoever becomes the 45th president of the United States of America. The only statement about Europe has been Mitt Romney's unpolite one on indebted countries like Greece, Italy or Spain. For the rest,transatlantic relations did not enter US presidential campaign debate. China, Iran, India and even Russia seemed to be more important to Washington than Brussels economic problems. 
On our European side, US elections really matter as well as whether Obama or Romney wins. Weird but true there should be some reciprocity on the issue. Europeans should not be so interested in who will be the next US president. So why are both right-wing and left-wing EU politicians in favour of Obama’s election? Usually, European right-wing politicians openly supported a Republican candidate. Why this time, are they silently opting for the Democratic Obama? The answer could be linked to communications. Maybe because Obama never mentioned Spain or Greece with such a negative connotation as Romney did. Perhaps, because he never criticized the continent’s welfare model, even if with $1,1 trillion public deficit (+151% from 2009) it would be hard doing that. Another point could be that Obama is part of a left-wing American bourgeoisie having close ties with Europe. On top of these irrelevant aspects, Obama’s approach to US/EU relationship management is not very different from his competitor's. It is the same US/EU foreign policy, with an hawkish approach in the case of Romney and a dovish approach in the case of Obama. What does this mean? This is the symptom of a more and more irrelevant Europe's role in a new world balanced on America/Asia relations. Europe seems to be relevant when it is time to talk about its economic problems. The same economic problems generated in the United States 5 years ago. 

Europeans would vote for Obama, but few things will change. A change was expected in 2008 and what Europe had in turn was the export of the worst economic crisis since 1929. Maybe, a weak Europe with a weakest currency is more to benefit US fragile economy. On this issue, both Romney and Obama agree. At least, for the sake of all those companies and banks that have been supporting the two candidates 6 billion dollars campaign! 

One more aspect. This election debate was entirely focused on domestic issues. Sooner or later the next US President will have to face world politics, including US/EU relations. As it happened to Roosevelt after years of isolation syndrome due to the crisis.