This paper attempts to unravel elements of the problem of communicating security to citizens in the EU and to show how it is tangled up in the misleading dichotomous rhetoric of security or liberty. The resulting failure of public diplomacy leads to sub-optimal policy outcomes and accountability deficits. The paper i) explores these effects in the context of problems of communication in spaces of disconnection arising between political agents of territorial power and the creation and maintenance of citizens’ affective loyalties; ii) briefly examines issues arising from the introduction of biometric identifiers to show how liberty and security are portrayed as alternative rather than complementary options; and iii) relates this portrayal to aspects of managing communication. It concludes that imprecision among elites as to what they mean by ‘security’ and what they think they communicate aggravates accountability deficits, public trust and confidence in the EU.
The author, Juliet Lodge, is Director of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence (JMECE) and Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds in the UK.