'The EU - What's In It For Me?' - a nice shiny new website for Brits from the European Commission - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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'The EU - What's In It For Me?' - a nice shiny new website for Brits from the European Commission

Thursday, 25 November 2010
The European Commission has this week launched a shiny new website for British citizens - the-eu-and-me.org.uk - that promises a "no-nonsense guide to what the EU delivers" and hopes to go some way to addressing the many many many myths peddled to the people through the UK media.

On the last count, only 36% of Brits said the UK had benefited from EU membership – the lowest in the EU – and this hardly comes as a surprise when you recall just a few of the many EU myths that gained maximum exposure in the media: whether it be the EU banning the sale of eggs by the dozen (Daily Mail), banning moth balls (Telegraph), renaming the English Channel the ‘Anglo-French pond’ (Daily Mail), removing the Queen’s image from UK passports (Telegraph) or banning the sale of straight bananas or even renaming sausagesemulsified high-fat offal tubes” which of course was originally from ‘Yes, Minister’.

The site, entitled "The EU: what's in it for me?", also includes information on travelling and working in Europe and illustrates projects the EU funds in each region of the country – all of which is easily accessible and very informative. For example, in just a few clicks I can see where EU money has been spent in my region of the South West:

£22.5 million was spent on Newquay Airport which has greatly improved access to Northern Cornwall and bought investment through increased tourism, £100,000 was spent enhancing the City Academy in Bristol and £50 million was invested in the Eden Project near St Austell, Cornwall, which is a phenomenally interesting and fascinating attraction and a huge asset to the Westcountry.

Of course, some critics (eurosceptics naturally) have already branded it as "bordering on propaganda" and “a waste of money”, but don’t they say that about anything the EU does to provide information for citizens?

South West Liberal MEP Graham Watson says it will no doubt agitate Eurosceptics, but it is important people learn more about the EU: "there are so many false stories flying around about the EU, and the benefits of our membership are often less visible than work done at local or national level."

"It is important that people know more about the EU so they can truly recognise what it does well and what it does not," he said.

"After all, if we took as gospel all of the claims made by parties like UKIP, we would probably believe this cold weather was caused by someone in Brussels turning down the 'EU-thermostat'!"

I think this is a great website with lots of useful information and a great resource, so forget about the criticism and log on to find out what’s in EU membership for you.


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