EU To Spend $3 million on Training of Internet Trolls in Battle Against Bad Image

Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the paralysed EU leaders realized that they are about to lose their grip, and turn to desperate (almost hysterical) measures. Like spending 3 million dollar on social media surveilance to discover political debates that may, or may not, have the potential to harm their glossy image of a peace-loving, peace-prize-winning, happy union – or to enforce the highly exaggerated perception amongst a growing number of Europeans that the whole EU project is about to collapse. Brussels are now hiring so-called “Twitter-Trolls” who will seek to counter any harmful or negative publicity in the social media. Training starts later this month.

“The words “legal” and “European Union” don’t fit together. Nothing matters here, there are no rules.”

Nigel Farage

social media

The EU will spend more than $3 million on “troll monitors” to trawl Eurosceptic debates on the internet ahead of European elections in June 2014, several UK media reports,  amid fears that hostility against the EU is growing. The new strategy will include “public opinion monitoring” to “identify at an early stage whether debates of a political nature among followers in social media and blogs have the potential to attract media and citizens’ interest,” according to internal documents reportedly discovered by the UK Telegraph.

Spending on “qualitative media analysis” will be increased by more than $2.6 million. Most of the money will be found in existing budgets, although an additional $1.2 million will be needed.

“Particular attention needs to be paid to the countries that have experienced a surge in Euroscepticism,” a confidential document states.

The monitors’ roles are clearly laid out in the documents. The controversial plan is designed to promote a stronger Europe, while engaging in conversation with those who hold an anti-EU sentiment.

“Parliament’s institutional communicators must have the ability to monitor public conversation and sentiment on the ground and in real-time, to understand ‘trending topics’ and have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths.”

“In order to reverse the perception that ‘Europe is the problem’, we need to communicate that the answer to existing challenges… is ‘more Europe’ – not ‘less Europe’.”

But the EU is facing an uphill battle, as it seeks to change the minds of those who associate the bloc with economic crisis and high rates of unemployment.

“It is evident that the EU’s image is suffering,” the document says.

The information has been met with disapproval by many, who say the strategy is a waste of time.

“Spending over a million pounds ($1.5 million) for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous,” UK Independent Party Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall told the Telegraph.

Training for the so-called “Twitter trolls” is set to take place later this month.

There is no doubt that the Eurosceptic moods continue to gain momentum in the union.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership. Cameron has been dubbed a “trendsetter” by Conservative MP David Campbell Bannerman, who believes many other countries are seeking more flexibility within the EU.

Also individual workers in the crisis-hit countries are unhappy with the bloc’s leadership and austerity measures.

Even German citizens have expressed interest in leaving the EU – despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ongoing support of EU policy. And the Germans aren’t alone – 34 per cent of French citizens also said they would be better off without the EU.

This is the sort of thing Mugabe would do.

As Euro zone leaders lock horns in Brussels over the proposed trillion-euro budget deal, speculation is rife the EU is set to invest millions in a PR campaign against online critics, looking to infiltrate social media sites to silence doubters.

“The words ‘legal’ and ‘European Union’ don’t fit together. Nothing matters here, there are no rules” - says the UK Independence Party‘s Nigel Farage of the European Parliament’s plan to spend huge sums of taxpayer money on social network smear campaigns against those who speak out against it.

“It’s serious. The organization of the European Parliament, which decides how resources are spent, they decided that they’re going to train in-house staff in the run-up to the European elections of 2014…trained them to go online, look at Facebook, Twitter and other social media and to “correct” any misapprehensions that may exist about the European Union.”

“The problem is, economically, that the Eurozone cannot – and will not – ever work. There’s no point in attempting to do that. This is a misconstruction. The economics are wrong, the politics are wrong. And instead of admitting defeat, what they are going to try and do is sully the name of people like me, who have called into question their legitimacy.  And I think that what is going to happen in the next couple of years is that the war of words that takes place within the European Union is going to get very bitter and very nasty indeed,” Farage says.

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2013

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