I'm prepared to bet on it. Organise a one-day training session or conference on Europe for company bosses, local politicians, non-governmental organisations, and talk to them about the Lisbon Strategya A glacial silence will be the response. No-one will have heard of it.

The number one priority of the Barroso Commission is unknown to the public in general, and to the elites. Perhaps it's better that way. Even if the European Union decided to start communicating about the Lisbon Strategy, what would it be able to say? "More growth, more competitiveness, more flexibility, more competition, more market accessa" And that is all there would be as a message!

The higher you mount within the Berlaymont, the more obsessively is European discourse limited to the goal of "competitiveness". It's as if Europe's citizens, and their personal well-being and values, were off-limits for discussion. As if the citizen, instead of being at the centre of attention, was a mere tool, a factor in production. As if debate, information, and communication were taboo, because they are considered are quite simply unnecessary.

Far from despairing that the French and Dutch rejection of the treaty presages the end of the EU or the euro, I see it as a massive demonstration that Europe can become passionate when the debate takes place among citizens. But it is also clear evidence of a huge general ignorance about what the EU is doing, and proof of the lack of effective communication about the EU.

Europe cannot be built without the citizen, and still less in spite of the citizen. So the citizen has to be involved and that requires more than providing information; there has to be real consultation too. I would venture some modest suggestions:

* The European consultation process was once very useful but has become almost virtual. What is the role now of the Economic and Social Committee, that was in the past so influential? What is the Committee of the Regions for? What's the purpose of the agricultural advisory committees? All these organs need urgent reform, so as to restore to civil society the counter-balancing role that is its right.

* When it comes to information, "what is clearly conceived is clearly expressed". It may be brutal to say so, but the constitutional treaty admittedly the best compromise attainable in terms of content is quite simply...

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