True tales be­hind Euro myths and fan­tasy head­lines

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - 60 YEARS OF EUROPEAN UNITY - John Daly

Peo­ple in Ire­land are among the most op­ti­mistic about their health with 84.2% of peo­ple here aged 25 to 64 per­ceiv­ing their health to be good or very good, third high­est in the EU af­ter Cyprus (85%) and Greece (84.7%). The EU av­er­age was 73.3% (in 2015).

At the height of last year’s Brexit cam­paign, a fea­ture­length film by the ‘Vote Leave’ cam­paign­ers — called Brexit: The Movie — pre­sented the typ­i­cal ‘EU reg­u­lated man’ wak­ing up from sleep­ing on an EU reg­u­lated pil­low, the re­sult of five daft EU laws for the pil­low­case and 109 for its con­tents — that is, if we were to be­lieve the mak­ers of the film.

While the many ben­e­fits of Ire­land’s EU mem­ber­ship are clear to us here — such as un­hin­dered ac­cess to a very lu­cra­tive mar­ket of over 500 mil­lion peo­ple; 700,000 jobs cre­ated, and for­eign direct in­vest­ment hav­ing in­creased from just €16m in 1972 to more than €30bn to­day — the same view does not nec­es­sar­ily per­tain to our near­est neigh­bours.

Over the years, cer­tain vo­cif­er­ous sec­tions of the UK tabloid press have taken a dis­tinct glee in un­earthing new ‘Euro-myths’ — bendy cu­cum­bers, bag­pipe bans and bare-faced in­ter­fer­ence with busty bar­maids.

If the pos­si­bil­ity of ‘those Brus­sels Euro­crats’ up and de­cid­ing to re­name yo­ghurt ‘fer­mented milk pud­ding’ gets you ex­er­cised, no doubt you’ll be equally dis­com­fited by the di­rec­tive on eggs which would ap­par­ently have to be stamped with the home ad­dress of the farmer, and can no longer be sold by the dozen.

The Euro myth has been an amus­ing sta­ple of UK jour­nal­ism for quite some time, and — even fol­low­ing the coun­try’s even­tual de­par­ture from the EU — will likely re­main so for many years ahead.

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