Pushing EU values: Education or propaganda?

A network of special “European schools” was set up to teach about the benefits of the community from a very young age. The model is now being pushed into national curricula; and critics are labelling it propaganda under multicultural veil.

­The proposals were drawn up by French MEP Jean-Marie Cavada.

In a report he called for the development of "the European dimension in education" and urged European schools to foster European integration.

He also advised the European schools be promoted in member states to "encourage the emergence of European citizenship from a very young age".

The report even asked member states to include teaching about the EU in their national curricula, and the European Commission has backed the idea.

A European Commission publication manager said it needs to 'start early' to convince children of the merits of the EU.

“Everybody has now picked up on the idea that we will never succeed to convince people about the value of being a member of the European Union if we do not start early enough with the young people before they form prejudices and are misinformed by other sources,”' Judith Schilling says in a video released in the internet.

“We see this as part of our role – to explain to our citizens – regardless of their age – not just schools and educators – how this thing works, why we have the EU, why it’s a good thing. But it aims are more information, not propaganda or a brainwashing exercise. That's not what we're about at all,” Dennis Abbott, Education Spokesman of the EU Commission explained to RT.

But the idea sparked violent criticism in the member states, especially in the UK.  

UK Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin, has hit out against the commission plans which she fears will lead to schoolchildren being "force-fed pro-Brussels propaganda".

"This looks like a license to force-feed pupils a very one-sided, starry-eyed version of what the EU is and does for its people," she claimed.”We fear it will be a carte blanche to push the federalist agenda that is so close to the hearts of the Eurocrats. When you are targeting youngsters and their education it amounts to political interference.”

“School curricula are the responsibility of individual member states to tailor to their own needs and their own classrooms and the EU should not get involved in dictating what individual schools teach,” Martin Callanan, UK Conservative Party MEP told RT. “We don’t want to see European money wasted on pouring out EU propaganda into our schools.”

Among the objectives of the European schools are to encourage a European and global perspective and to promote the emergence of a European identity from an early age.

But the question remains – when does it stop being education and start being propaganda?