In The Netherlands, the EU has used the weekly Donald Duck magazine for kids to spread pro-EU propaganda. Representatives for the European Commission have commissioned a special edition of the magazine, featuring several stories meant to illustrate how great the European project is. The special edition came out in November 2019.
An undisclosed amount of tax payer money was spent producing this self-congratulatory, with the content having been created by the editors of Donald Duck, in cooperation with EU-representatives. Documents obtained by Dutch blog Follow The Money show that several themes for the stories are suggested by the EU-representatives, and they even have the ending of one of the stories changed because the original ending was not positive enough for the intended narrative.
In another e-mail, the EU insists that the stories avoid the theme of citizens having to pay the EU. Although this obviously happens in the real world, the EU thought it a ‘sensitive theme’ – too sensitive to touch, clearly (but not sensitive enough to stop taking our money).
In a response, the European Commission’s delegates in The Netherlands state that “We wanted to offer a balanced story, while highlighting the usefulness and necessity of the European Union”. Yeah, that sounds super-balanced.
The kicker is that the special edition of Donald Duck may form a violation of advertisement regulations. Advertisements must be clearly labeled as such, which has not happened here. Political ideologies are explicitly covered by these regulations. Several experts and academics specializing in ad regulations and media are quoted by Follow The Money, saying that the magazine should clearly have been marked as advertising.
Go get ’em while they’re young, EU. The sooner the new generation gets to know you, the sooner they’ll grow sick of you.