Go ahead, blame it on Brussels!
Brussels has long been blamed for just about everything that goes wrong in the UK and across the rest of Europe. Most of us rely on national newspapers, television, radio and internet news to find out what is going on in our towns, cities, the country and our world. But can we trust the media to tell the truth?
Apparently not. The European Commission's Press Office in London monitors and publishes the British media's highly distorted coverage of the European Union. The European Commission Directorate General for Communication also posts information under "Get Your Facts Straight".
What they have discovered is hundreds of myths and mistruths, propagated by the media. Some of them are ridiculous, many are amusing. But the serious question concerns the journalistic integrity of a media that denies the British public the truth about EU policies and institutions.
Scare stories based on hearsay, rumours and half-truths
These European myths and mistruths are scare stories based on hearsay, rumours and half-truths. As with many myths and mistruths, they have become repeated so many times that they have become accepted as truth by the media and the public. Many such stories are based on twisted facts or even lies.
The constant stream of myths and mistruths obscures the truth about why the Europe is important and overshadows the achievements of the European Union, including: frontier-free travel and trade, a greener environment, joint action on crime and terrorism, increased security, safer food and water, better working conditions, equal opportunities, cross-border consumer regulation, better living standards in poorer regions, cheaper phone calls and air travel, and many opportunities to study abroad. (Link Why Europe.)
These stories make entertaining reading, but many people believe them and often come away with a picture of the European Union as a group of mad, power-hungry ‘eurocrats' operating out of secret corridors where the concept of "democracy" is ignored.
Here is a sampling of European myths and mistruths. As you will see from the selection below, myths and mistruths exist about every aspect of our lives, including consumer issues such as alcohol sales and food labelling, the environment, health and safety regulations and price hikes. Such myths and mistruths also abound concerning two subjects dear to the heart of many Britons - pets and animal welfare.
For more European myths, visit the website of the European Commission's Press Office in London:
This webpage from the European Commission Directorate General for Communication attempts to set the record straight and urges people to get their facts straight: