Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
All institutions have their gibberish and jargon, but the European Union really does take the biscuit sometimes.
Whether it’s endless acronyms that tumble out of press officers’ mouths without the faintest irony, or stock phrases that ministers, commissioners and assorted lower-level officials just can’t stop themselves from using, the EU and its institutions have given rise to a plethora of empty or confusing verbiage.
At a briefing by the European Defence Agency on the sidelines of a meeting of European foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday — known in the lingo as a GAC/FAC — an official produced the following phrase to describe efforts to create a new security body: “We want to adopt a pragmatic, output-oriented, bottom-up approach.”
Having a “bottom-up approach” is currently de rigueur, with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now a Middle East envoy, repeatedly using the phrase in recent weeks to describe efforts to build-up Palestinian institutions and the economy. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, likes to use it regularly too.
As experiments in political unity go, Europe’s External Action Service takes some beating.
The budding diplomatic corps of the European Union, with a name that sounds like an off-shoot of Britain’s SAS, is supposed to represent the unified interests of the EU’s 27 member states to the rest of the world.
In the United States, Senate hearings to confirm presidential appointments are a Big News Story, with scores of photographers, TV cameras and journalists cramming into the committee rooms to follow the event live.
The European Union — which has 200 million more people than the United States and is a larger trading bloc — has something similar, with hearings before the European Parliament to confirm nominees to the European Commission, the 27-person body that enforces laws across the EU.