My name is Simonetta Cook. I am half English and half Italian, and I grew up in Luxemburg, so I think I feel quite European already from the start. I pursued my legal studies in London at UCL and then completed a masters in European law in the College of Europe in Bruges. Had the chance to work both in private practice with European law and regulatory law but also in various EU institutions. So I worked a year and a half In the European Parliament, and I had a brief stint in the European Court of Justice, and it's been five and half years now that I work as a law linguist in the legal service of the council. >> [INAUDIBLE] I think one of the main reasons is the EU is just not good enough at promoting itself. It doesn't market its achievements sufficiently well. Conversely, I think the media is great at bashing the EU. I think the EU is quite a technical subject, it's quite complicated. Nobody's interested in reading about the EU introducing a new European patent, for example. It's a lot sexier to talk about some of the controversial issues surrounding the EU. It's wasting money, it's inefficient, it's got a pneumatic parliament. And I think these things appeal a lot more to the masses. >> So I think on the one hand, the EU's not doing enough to really promote itself, and on the other hand, it's receiving a lot of negative press, simply because I think that just sells more. I think, at the same time, citizens are quite disgruntled by the fact that EU policies do really regulate their lives to quite an extent. And yet I feel they're probably, or they feel, they're probably not sufficiently involved in the entire decision making process within the EU. So on the one hand, the EU laws have a huge impact on their life, but on the other hand they're not having a sufficient good impact or rather, input into the decision making. And I think finally the recession hasn't helped. I think the EU can be perhaps criticized for some of its economic policies. Admittedly, though, I think it's sometimes conveniently used as a scapegoat by some national politicians for rather regrettable decisions. I don't think it would be unreasonable for the EU to outsource to a communications company. I think it needs a dynamic, it needs input from real professionals. EU is made up, I'm generalizing, but it is made up by a lot of officials and bureaucrats. We need experts in the field that know how to sell the EU to its citizens. I know in Italy, for example, when I switch on the TV I do see some adverts on what the EU does. I think that's a great way of promoting what the achievements of the EU are and appealing, really, to everybody out there. But I think we should be using modern media a lot more. We should be seeing leaders on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, we should be seeing a lot of them. Perhaps the EU could also improve by just raising awareness of the EU better. I give presentations to students that come to visit the council. I talk to about 200 students a year, and I'm quite amazed at the level or the lack of knowledge of the EU, how the EU is not always covered in national, educational curricula. And I think it's really pointless for students to learn about Ancient Greece if they don't know enough about who is actually taking decisions in their life, that have a real impact on their life now. So I think that's an important one. I think the EU also should try and refocus its marketing strategy, and I'm giving you a very personal input here. Whenever I go to conferences or to events where the EU is present, and EU is there with leaflets, one of my pet hates is an example that the EU chooses to promote itself. Invariably you come across the example of air passenger rights. This ultimately means, if you're a passenger and your flight is delayed or cancelled, you get the right to some form of compensation. I think after 60 years that the EU is in existence, we've got various member states, it's costing an arm and a leg, is this really the very best you can come up with? Your flight's delayed two hours, but thank God there's the EU. You have the right to a coffee and a croissant. That clearly is not the main selling point of the EU. And I think I read an interesting article, I think it was buy a Weiler, Joseph Weiler or Grainne de Burca who said, we really need to focus on what the important thing, the real achievements of the EU and it's not air passenger rights. It's the fact that for the last 70 years, we seem to be very blase about it. But we're at peace. I give conferences in Kosovo and I see how the memories of war in the Balkans is still really fresh to them. We've been sheltered from all this for years, our generation and hopefully generations to come. Where some of the biggest contributors, for example, to development aid in developing countries. We're fighting climate change more than any other institution or organization. We're on the sort of international scene for trade. We're important partners. We can really impose certain things on our trading partners, because we're speaking with one voice. We're an important partner. All these things should really be sold to the citizens. Well not even really sold but just citizens should be better informed about this. And lastly, I think it's time, perhaps, for the EU to consider appointing slightly more charismatic leaders. I think their choice has been correct up to now, but I think now is the time to have people that are not media shy and not worried about being, perhaps, controversial, taking a stand even if it's an unpopular one. But trying to attract and appeal a little bit to the public at large.