Languages in South-East Europe & Brexit – Jonathan Scheele, British Commission official for 38 years
April 25, 2016
Even those of us who worked within the EU institutions face a challenge in finding out and understanding what’s going on there. And for those outside the Brussels Bubble that challenge is even greater. The need for rapid and up to date information has always been there and, over the decades, approaches to providing it have evolved hugely – from the early days of printed news-sheets setting out in excruciating detail only comprehensible to initiés, we now see a much more accessible presentation, usable by normal people.
EurActiv was among the first to see – and meet – the need for provision of that information online. Its hard copy predecessors have faded out, and online is now where competitors fight it out.
I became a regular user of EurActiv during a five year posting in Romania in the early noughties. Information about what the EU was doing was at a premium – even for me as an EU official. And coverage in the Romanian media, enthusiastic though it was, was rarely entirely accurate –as is the case in most EU Member States, particularly the one I know best and now live in, the UK.
EurActiv was – and largely remains – unique in offering coverage in Romanian not only of news of what is going on in Brussels, but also of Romanian news that is relevant to the Brussels end of things. A genuine effort at informing the debate on a local basis, in the local language. And this coverage in their language continues in many EU Member States and even beyond: in Turkey and Serbia. It has become a vital tool both for local journalists, who don’t have the resources for a Brussels-based correspondent, and for all who need to understand what’s going on at the EU level, whether or not they live or work in Brussels.
I continue to receive the daily update now I’m back in the UK and find it a valuable tool. The filtering options mean that I’m not deluged by information, but articles that are of interest show up. And the EurActiv blog updates provide some useful arguments and insights, even where I disagree with them. It will be indispensable in the ongoing debate on Brexit.
Long may EurActiv continue to provide my information!
British Commission official for 38 years, retiring in 2012.
Senior Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.Author : EurActiv: Pioneering Values in European Media