Daniel Gueguen

Autumn is a source of melancholy. And in this month of November 2019, the causes for discontent are multiplying. Externally, disinformation and fake news are everywhere. Trade wars are in our midst, as are the eruptive characters of certain world leaders.

Within the EU, things are no better. The intention of the next Commission President and soon-to-be Commissioner Šefčovič to attribute a quasi-power of a legislative initiative to the European Parliament will make EU governance explosive. Everything will become more complicated and therefore less understandable as well as more caricatured for the commentators.

This widespread presence of clichés, caricatures, estimations and fake news (voluntary or involuntary) is gaining ground fast in the Brussels bubble. Expertise is becoming suspect. He who shouts loudest is right, regardless of the reality and the facts. Innovation is being eclipsed by the precautionary principle. The entrepreneur, the researcher, and the producer are being ignored. They are suspect.

Faced with such an onslaught, EU trade associations and industry are paralyzed. It is not that they have nothing to say. They are just afraid that by defending themselves they will be attacked even more. This stance is a mistake.

The role of NGOs and civil society is fundamental. So is the Europe of citizens. But it is not normal to see, more and more frequently, these fatwas coming out of nowhere, attacking the farming world, the food industry, the chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, conventional energies, etc with no coherent reaction from the sectors concerned, with no solidarity between them. Everyone is putting their head in the sand. This might be comfortable…until you suffocate.

Should we set up a kind of “Conventional Wisdom Club” (or “Club des idées reçues” in French)? The opportunity to restore truth and call out lies is a project that I believe is very worthy of interest. The point would not be to impose one’s point of view upon others, but at least to listen to one another and understand one another. As they say in Belgium, it would help “put the church in the center of the village.”

For some years we have discussed with Vicky Marissen the idea of a “Conventional Wisdom Club”. Now it is time to act. As a first step, building upon the convictions I have expressed many times in numerous conferences, training, and writings, I will publish on my Euractiv blog a series of four articles (1 per week) aiming to set out the goal. The first article will be entitled “Good lobbyists, bad lobbyists: which is which?”

With these four articles, to be published just before Christmas, we will open up the “Conventional Wisdom Club” to any person or organization that wishes to restore the primacy of facts and start a constructive dialogue between the economic world and the world of civil society.

Depending on the level of interest and the suggestions we receive, we will take the initiatives that we consider most appropriate.

As of now, you can contact me at the following email address: dg@conventionalwisdom.eu

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