Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook launched a campaign to change the image of the European Union in Britain. The British press has been traditionally hostile to the idea of the European Union. The stories most likely to be published are those ridiculing the EU, such as Brussels’ and Strasbourg’s more unfortunate and absurd laws. The Conservative Party, the main opposition force, makes a political policy of being anti-integrationist and anti-Euro. The result was the last opinion poll about the Euro, which was held this month: 71% of the British people declared themselves against the UK joining the Euro. Tired of Britain’s image of isolation from the rest of Europe, the Prime Minister yesterday used his speech at Mansion House, London, to cultivate a different image of Europe. “Europe is essential for industry, for investments and jobs in Britain”, he said in his speech at the Lord Mayor’s annual dinner. Tony Blair said that Britain’s place is inside Europe, not outside it and only as a full, working partner can Britain have a strong voice outside its shores. The Prime Minister’s pro-Europe discourse was backed by strong words from Foreign Secretary Robin Cook: Euromyths are the source of great entertainment for the journalists. The press has a mission to entertain the public. Now, it fails in the other mission, that of informing the public”, he said in the seminar Centre for European Reform. The Labour government is pressing Fleet Street, headquarters of many of Britain’s newspapers, to change their attitude and to stop inventing myths about Europe. “From now on, the government is going to go through all the stories printed carefully. You are frequently going to hear the expression “facts” and not “myths” until this is the way Europe is portrayed in the press”, Robin Cook continued. The Foreign Secretary went on to expose the “greatest Euromyth of all is the idea that the European Union is going to form a super-state. Nobody wants this”. The leader of the main opposition force in the UK , the Conservative William Hague, replied that “If it looks like an elephant, talks like an elephant and walks like an elephant, it is an elephant. I say to you that this looks like a super-state, talks like a super-state and walks like a super-state because it is a super-state” (referring to the EU) It is this type of nonsense that New Labour is trying to dispel from British public opinion.

John Bancroft, Pravda.ru, London

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