Monday, May 30, 2005

EU – branding nightmare

If any corporation had as muddled a brand image as the EU it would sell nothing. The EU's primary problem is that it means different things to different people in each member state. This breeds confusion. Often these different meanings are actually contradictory.

Is the EU heading towards a Federal super-state or is it not? Will there be a single federal tax regime? Will there be a single social welfare regime? Will there be an EU military or will each country always have its own army/navy/air force?

What about foreign affairs – one policy for the entire EU or many disparate, and often opposing, policies? How big will the EU get? Will the EU spread to Russia, the Caucuses, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel, elsewhere?

Anyone who claims that these issues have not been fudged is in denial. And, some of these questions have been fudged for a long time. Eventually all this fudging had to lead to a backlash.

The EU needs to settle on a concrete, manageable set of agreed statements that say this is what we are and this is what we hope to do. Until such time as this is done, the EU will continue to hemorrhage support. It's entirely possible that whole regions will opt out, but even that would be better than the drifting and deceipt that seem to alternate as the driving force of the EU.