Interviewing yourself and other ways to get the EU’s message across – POLITICO



Paul Dallison writes Declassified, a weekly satirical column.

Starved of an outlet in the media (after only giving 28 interviews to the French press and, er, POLITICO so far this week), Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, has taken to LinkedIn to be interviewed by … himself.

Breton’s a fairly regular poster on LinkedIn (whose tagline is Because Social Media Doesn’t Have To Be Fun) but has really upped his game by posting a question-and-answer session in which he provides both questions and answers.

He expertly answers all the tough questions he asked himself. For example, this tricky beast — “Some claim that Europe has ‘lost the vaccine war’, what do you say to that? — gets the immediate response: “I don’t share that view.” Boom! Take that, er, yourself.

But interviewing yourself isn’t as easy as it looks and he seems to trip up when answering the question “Will Europeans be able to finally enjoy a normal summer this year?” He says he’s “confident that we will find some normality soon, and enjoy a summer similar to the one we experienced last year.” But last summer was no different to every other season since the virus hit: looking out of the window and fantasizing about an overpriced lager in a plastic glass, except that we were wearing shorts!

Self-interviewing is clearly a terrible idea as it does away with journalists altogether and as we all know, journalism is the most important profession on the planet (above nursing, teaching, fire fighting and whatever you call the job that involves removing landmines from in front of schools).

But maybe Breton’s merely adjusting to the brave new world of getting your message out there using unconventional means (and if anyone can do it, it’s the man who wrote the futuristic novels “Softwar” and “Netwar” and also helped come up with the idea for a high-tech theme park called “Futuroscope” whose tagline is “Expect the unexpected” — which, coincidentally, is also the motto of the EU’s vaccination rollout scheme).

Breton’s fellow European commissioners should take note and go for the unusual route too.

For example, as the last few days have made clear, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen isn’t allowed to sit down or take part in international “who can piss the highest” contests, so she could embark on a walking tour of Europe, refusing to rest until every last European has been vaccinated (which is currently slated for August 2027). Former U.K. Conservative politician Rory Stewart attempted something similar when he was trying to be mayor of London, endlessly walking around the capital and occasionally staying overnight at people’s houses as part of a slightly creepy campaign called Come Kip With Me, a plan since disastrously adopted by American politician Matt Gaetz.

Another one who could benefit from some of Breton’s get-up-and-go is Janez Lenarčič, who’s the commissioner responsible for crisis management but who we’ve barely heard from even though the past year has been spent in an actual horror movie. Lenarčič should get himself a superhero costume (cape, lycra, big C for commissioner on the front, that kind of thing) and head off around the Continent putting out fires, pulling people out of rubble, holding their place in the queue for an appointment at the commune etc.

And if you’re going to have a commissioner for foresight — and Maroš Šefčovič is that man — he could at least interview himself about all the things he knows are going to happen, saving the rest of us a lot of trouble.



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