Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Now that I'm old and married, my après-ski routine tends to involve a few beers at the chalet rather than copious quantities of Jägermeister at dodgy bars with animatronic goats.

So while relaxing on the sofa with a nice cold Kronenbourg, what more natural choice than to flip on the television for some light entertainment. But as funny as it is to watch Family Guy in German, or Futurama in French, I couldn't resist keeping an eye on what was happening in the world, and one of the few news channels available in English was EuroNews.

It ran a tight loop of stories considered of interest to "EU Citizens", with news segments discussing the EU response to the crisis in Libya, interspersed with pretentious "No Comment" segments of carefully-edited voiceover-free video, short documentaries on obscure German pop singers, and "questions for Europe" (ask not what you can do for Europe, but what the EU can do for you).

For example:
Improving the health of Europeans, promoting social inclusion and gender equality, and fighting the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs are some of the key areas addressed by the EU’s future sports policy. What is Brussels planning?
The functioning of the European Citizens’ Initiative, introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, has now been defined. How will it work?
The channel's self-consciously Eurocentric approach was striking enough that I decided to Google it on my return to the UK. Sure enough, it is partially funded by European taxpayers. According to this site, the EU "has tripled its contributions over the last three years to €15m".

A bit more digging turned up a presentation to the European Parliament, on "3 juin 2008".

Apparently, "of the international news channels in Europe, EuroNews receives the least public funding" and "in the long term, EuroNews should be a European public service".

They note that "Switzerland is the only state where EuroNews has must-carry status for cable operators" and suggest that "the European Parliament can offer regulatory or financial incentives for cable operators to carry EuroNews".

As well as "more resources for a global advertising campaign" they would like to see "financial incentives to broadcast EuroNews in hotels and public places (airports, railway stations, etc.)".

Ultimately, they would like to see EuroNews "funded by a European licence fee". They reckon that "€1 per household per year = €200m / year", which would give a "budget 4 times EuroNews’ current budget, reflecting a genuine European ambition for European public service and Europe’s external audiovisual presence".

I can't wait.

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