MEP frustrated over media coverage

By Alex Stevenson

As Gordon Brown’s speech gives the European parliament some rare coverage in the British press, a leading Labour MEP has vented his frustration about just how rare that coverage is.

Claude Moraes told it was difficult to pitch pro-European stories to some press tittles because “the editorial attitude is against us”.

The European Labour party is hoping to fight as positive a campaign as possible for this spring’s elections.

Mr Moraes suggested it was easier for the eurosceptic message to be transmitted to British voters, however, making the task harder for those backing full involvement in the European Union.

“The reality of the UK today is when you fight that pro-European campaign you are going to come up against a number of barriers,” he said.

“I think all journalists would accept those barriers exist. But I think if it seeps into the culture then there’s an issue.”

Mr Moraes said a gap existed between the importance of European issues and their coverage in British reporting, citing temporary agency workers’ rights, climate change, and working time as key issues currently affecting the UK.

He added: “Very often when things are reported, if it’s a good piece of legislation people see it as a good fine piece of British legislation. If it doesn’t work, it’s come from the EU.”

Mr Moraes contrasted attention given to the Scottish parliament with that given to the European parliament.

“When you fight a general election most people don’t question the nature of the place you’re sending your elected representatives too,” he continued.

“And while MSPs are in a situation where their institutions are maturing. there’s possibly more press attached and less reporting of the actual outcome of the European parliament.”

A further complicating factor, he argued, was that European elections were “inevitably” a referendum on the British government’s domestic policies.

“Our task is to focus the elections as much as possible on European achievements and European debate,” Mr Moraes finished.

“But I think there’s an inevitability about some part of this being a referendum on the government.”

European elections take place on June 4th.