By @SimonCocking, review of Rebranding Europe, Fundamentals for leadership Communication, by Stavros Papagianneas. Available from Amazon here.

Rebranding Europe explores why EU communication fails and how to make it succeed. It examines the future of communication in Europe full of complex issues such as the creation of a European public sphere, the European identity crisis, multilingualism, the lessons learned from the Brexit campaigns, challenging myths and populism, communicating Europe, grassroots communication and how to support quality journalism. This book illustrates how Europe can be rebranded by providing key recommendations on how to convey the added value of the EU in the daily lives of its citizens.

As we all know Great Britain voted for Brexit, which unleashed massive surprise and disappointment across Europe. Interestingly too now, with the latest Facebbok / Cambridge Analytica revelations it is looking more and more likely that there was a massive breach of UK laws in terms of election funding and declaration of donations. What on earth will this mean, will the result be annulled due to campaigning irregularities? Or, as Teresa May says, Brexit means Brexit. Sadly it’s more likely to be the latter rather than the former. Brexit, Trump, will probably be looked back upon in five to ten years time as massive protest votes , by people who felt uncomfortable by changing times – even though they were already, often, facing the final decade of their own lives. A tough irony that those who voted for these reactionary times are not going to be those that have to live with the consequences for next few decades.

This is the backdrop to which Papagianneas looks to understand why it was so easy for the anti campaign to paint Europe and the EU as something worth leaving. He writes intelligently, with empathy, and looks to weigh it all up, including the EU’s frequent failure to be able to effectively articulate its value and worth for the normal citizens of the union. Time and time again you feel, that despite his passionate support for the value of the EU, it is often seen unfavourably, and it is a very difficult proposition to showcase all of the really useful things that have been achieved by the EU. Perhaps it will take the UK leaving, to really demonstrate why a country is so much better by remaining within the EU. The book doesn’t make for comfortable reading, even though it is well written, because often it is easier to criticise something than it is to appreciate it.

The book is worth reading, even if you do reach the conclusion that there are no easy answers. And meanwhile perhaps the other 27 European countries will reap the benefits from the mess that continues to be Brexit?


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