Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-02-20-Speech-3-052"

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"Mr President, the Eurobarometer always shows that around 30% of European citizens are eurosceptic and are unhappy. This 30% is very interesting. It appeals particularly to protest groups and others that have no policies of their own but want a share of that 30%. It appeals to those who have no policies by which they can be identified; euroscepticism is a screen to hide behind. This 30% also appeals to those whose policies will never be accepted by others. Euroscepticism is a very useful disguise for xenophobes. It is considered acceptable to be seen to be sceptical, at least in the eyes of this 30%. It is against this background, therefore, that we should consider the call for referendums. Those involved are not actually concerned about referendums; they are not trying to achieve more democracy; rather, all they are after is to harness this 30% of protest potential and use it to drive their own goals. The same 30% of eurosceptics attracts interest from another quarter, however. They represent market potential for certain media. EU protest sells well – we see that every day in the tabloids. In my country, Austria, you need only to glance at the headlines to know what it is all about. It is not about supposed high treason, and it is not about the EU ‘theatre’. It is about making sure that this 30% will continue to buy the paper each day. Who could be against a national referendum? Nobody could be against a national referendum, but then they ought to be called for much more frequently and on a much wider range of topics – yet this does not happen. Basically, the protest serves only the newspaper’s own potential market share, its potential to dominate; it does not serve democracy. This is indeed something that should be stated on a day like today."@en1

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