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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wild claims












On 14 June 2009 the Irish Independent reported that Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner for Communication, said during a visit to Dublin that the Lisbon Treaty would "encourage" affordable childcare in the EU.

A question was tabled to her in the European Parliament, by Syed Kamall MEP, asking the simple question:

"Can you please clarify which articles in the Lisbon Treaty will encourage affordable childcare in the EU?"

The question was tabled in order to deliver a response mid-September at the latest. However, having delayed this far, our Commissioner for "Communication" has, at a minute to midnight today declared her response will only be ready on 6 October, conveniently after the Irish referendum has already taken place.

So this completely unsubstantiated, nonsense claim from the politician we pay good money to communicate the Lisbon Treaty is allowed to stay just as it is, with no explanation.

We're reminded of The Economist column last week which described Wallstrom as "a Swede whose 'kum-bay-yah' approach grated with colleagues". It's grating with us a bit too.

If you haven't already checked it out you should have a look at her here on Newsnight after the last Irish referendum, when she failed spectacularly to explain what on earth people are supposed to do to reject this Treaty, since voting no is clearly not enough.

3 comments:

Joe Hennon said...

Except she didn't mention childcare in the context of the Lisbon Treaty at all, she referred to the Lisbon Strategy (for Growth & Jobs) and the fact that to get more women into the workforce you need to have adequate childcare. The distinction was clearly lost on the Irish Independent reporter.
The delay in answering the question has nothing to do with the Irish referendum and everything to do with trying to find out where this nonsense came from.

Open Europe blog team said...

Thanks Joe.

Did you, or Margot or anyone else in your office write a letter or an article to the paper to correct the mistake?

Also - surely, if that is indeed true, it was a very easy mistake to make, given that Margot was in Dublin speaking with members of Generation Yes - the pro-Lisbon Treaty campaign group! Why was she talking about Irish childcare at such a meeting, when it's got nothing to do with the Treaty?

And how many ordinary people in Ireland and around the rest of the EU do you think know the difference between the Lisbon Strategy and the Lisbon Treaty?

If the journalist has made a mistake, it sounds like our Commissioner for Communications has allowed it to happen through... poor communication.

Joe Hennon said...

Margot was answering questions and if I remember correctly that one was about what the EU could do for women. Childcare came up because it happens to be a big issue in Ireland.
If I wrote to every newspaper in the EU that made a mistake in its reporting I would be in a lunatic asylum by now.
I do actually agree that the Lisbon Strategy is confusing and I was surprised Margot mentioned it because she has always argued for getting rid of all these terms like Copenhagen Criteria, Laeken Declaration etc...