Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

My faith in politics is restored

Absolutely hilarious (via):

“Of 40 people questioned, none could put names to photographs of all 23 Cabinet ministers. Only one managed to recognise more than half of them… A total of seven ministers – nearly a third of the Cabinet – went unrecognised by all surveyed… during a major economic crisis the Chancellor of the Exchequer was no more recognisable than Robin Cook, the former Foreign Secretary, who has been dead for three years.

“David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who faced rumours of a leadership challenge this summer, was recognised 13 times, but no fewer than three people thought he was Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats. “

I wonder what the success rate would be for photos of European Commissioners? I’d be amazed if anyone from pretty much any EU state got more than two or three right. Let’s find out – here they are. With no cheating by looking at the filenames or checking the Commission page, how many can you honestly put a name to? How many could you put a job to?

Who he? Who she? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who she? Who he? Who he? Who she? Who he? Who she? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who she? Who she? Who she? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who he? Who she? Who he? Who she?

Go on, try to put a name to a face: Joaquín Almunia, José Manuel Barroso, Jacques Barrot, Joe Borg, Stavros Dimas, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Mariann Fischer Boel, Ján Figel, Dalia Grybauskaite, Danuta Hübner, Siim Kallas, Neelie Kroes, László Kovács, Meglena Kuneva, Markos Kyprianou, Peter Mandelson, Charlie McCreevy, Louis Michel, Leonard Orban, Andris Piebalgs, Janez Poto?nik, Viviane Reding, Olli Rehn, Vladimír Špidla, Antonio Tajani, Günter Verheugen, Margot Wallström

Despite readers of this blog being likely to be rather more knowledgable about EU affairs, I’d be surprised if many of you – if you’re honest – would be able to get more than ten right. For the rest of the population? Hell, I’d be pretty surprised if you end up with more than one in ten who’d be able to recognise Barroso…

Is this why EU debates tend to seem focussed more on the policies than the personalities? Has the EU managed to create politics without politicians?


  1. I have made it until 8 1/2 (1/2 is a correct guess), including Barroso, Wallström, Verheugen, and Ferrero-Waldner.

    Of these 9, I have seen 5 live (or at least through video presentation) during conferences and have spoken to two. Without this live experienece, I would only make it up to four or five.

    I have also seen Meglena Kuneva before, but I only new that from her photo, I couldn’t connect a name until I looked it up…

    In the end, European politics is not much personalised, and if it is done, then rather connected to national political figures than to the EU commissioners.

    The only person one could add is Solana, someone more frequently seen in the different media. The rest does not get frequent air time on national TV stations and also not much space in national newspapers. Without proper European media, they will remain unnoticed not only by the general but also by an even more specialised public.

  2. Sorry to be a sad geek, but I can do 27 out of the 27… But I am supposed to know that as I teach people about the EU!

  3. Counting in the same way as Julien, I got 5 1/2. Not bad for a European who has been living elsewhere for several years.

  4. Only Mandy. He’s got unforgettable bad hair and old man’s teeth. The rest look like bank managers.

  5. I got 8 and I’m not (professionally) following EU affairs. I was aware of the names of 4 more but couldn’t connect the photos with the name.

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