EU Phrasebook: 27 Ways to Say, ‘No Doesn’t Really Mean No’

Nous c'est Non The Manifesto Club has published a ‘Phrasebook’ to mock the anti-democratic EU. Four times, European voters have said ‘No’ to European Union treaties: in Ireland on 7 June 2001 (Nice Treaty), France and Holland on 29 May and 1 June 2005 (European Constitution), and again Ireland on 12 June 2008 (Lisbon Treaty). Four times, European leaders responded by effectively saying, No doesn’t really mean no.

The Manifesto Club’s EU Phrasebook: 27 Ways to Say ‘No Doesn’t Really Mean No’ documents 27 different ways in which politicians from all 27 EU countries sought to avoid or neutralise these no-votes. Politicians said: ‘people didn’t understand the treaty’, ‘No voters are ungrateful’, or ‘There is no Plan B’. They treated the vote as an obstacle around which to manoeuvre.

By documenting these linguistic twists and turns, this phrasebook seeks to expose politicians’ contemptuous attitude towards the public – and to say in plain English (or French, or Dutch) that no does actually mean no. The phrasebook was launched at a public event in Brussels, on the eve of the European Council meeting on 11-12 December 2008, and is sponsored by Libertas.

Read an extract from the EU Phrasebook