We're all paying for the happy EuroNews

GIVEN the general hostility of Brits to anything European apart from beer, wine, cars and sunshine holidays, it was a bold move of our EU masters to subsidise an English language television channel to sell the delights of the emerging super state of which we are, like it or not, an integral part.

Graham Dines

GIVEN the general hostility of Brits to anything European apart from beer, wine, cars and sunshine holidays, it was a bold move of our EU masters to subsidise an English language television channel to sell the delights of the emerging super state of which we are, like it or not, an integral part.

Welcome to EuroNews.

It broadcasts on cable, terrestrial and digital channels in 121 countries worldwide, and is to be found via your Sky dish on Channel 509 - free of charge but paid for by you and me as taxpayers of the European Union.


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Given that many Europhobes dub the BBC the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation for its alleged bias in extolling the virtues of the EU, and that the BBC Parliament channel devotes a chunk of programming to matters EU, there'll be surprise that there's a need for a 24-hour English language channel devoted to the idea “nation state good, federal European superstate better.”

With never a critical tone to be heard from its newscasters and commentators, EuroNews reflects the general view held in most of the other 27 member states that the EU is for the common good, and the more co-operation and joint working there is to report, the happier the 500million residents of the EU will be.

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EuroNews was selected by the European Commission for a “mission of European information” and broadcasts its programmes in seven languages simultaneously - English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

Launched in 1993 by European public broadcasters, it is watched regularly by 8 million people daily, a higher audience than its main rivals CNN and BBC World. Main shareholders are France Télévisions, RAI, TVE and TSR.

According to its editorial charter, EuroNews is a “European channel of continuous information.” Among its “missions” are the presentation of international information from a European point of view, and to focus on the role of the EU. According to the European Commission's web site, it has “become the channel of reference on EU-related news.”

After open competition, a new contract was signed in 2005 and gives EuroNews a taxpayer subsidy of 25million euros. Under the terms of this contract, EuroNews must provide four elements to the “missions”:

Daily news briefs, giving the main points on the European agenda.

An explanation and didactic presentation of the main news.

In Depth analysis, debates, interviews, and magazines-style programming.

Live broadcasting of EU events, such as the European Council, plenary sessions of the European Parliament, and media conferences.

These programmes must present current EU political and institutional events, role and policies of EU institutions, and life in EU countries. How that squares with the charter guaranteeing “the impartiality of the information and editorial freedom” is not clear.

Figures for how many Brits watch EuroNews have not been published. Given the 8million daily viewing figure in 27 member states, and that the French, Belgians, Dutch, Germans, Italians and Spanish are Europhiles and therefore more likely to watch the programmes, we can surmise that the number of Brits watching is negligible.

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