Posted by: carbonara | October 27, 2011

Time for a roadmap of roadmaps?

Navigational aid required for bewildered EU citizens

Roadmaps, roadmaps everywhere!  The EU is gearing up to release its Energy Roadmap 2050, which has as usual leaked its way onto the internet ahead of time. In customary fashion the media have leapt on individual out-of-context quotes to highlight inconsistencies in EU energy and climate policy. But, you may be thinking, isn’t this old news? Didn’t the 2050 roadmap already come out some months ago?  You’re right, the 2050 Roadmap did come out in March; but that was A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050, utterly distinct, obviously, from The Energy Roadmap 2050.   But that’s not all;  in September this year the Union proudly launched the The Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe, which might also have a thing or two to do with energy and low carbon.

So are these three trailblazing autobahns independent atlases towards an energy secure, low carbon, resource-efficient Europe? Or is this the product of some not-altogether-joined-up and perhaps rivalrous thinking from the three Directorate Generals that produced them (DG ENERGY, DG CLIMA and DG ENV respectively)?

And the roadmap fascination doesn’t end there. Policy-making is a spaghetti junction of cartographic aides, none of which, of course, will ever feature a road or any other geographic feature. You needn’t go far to find talk of a European Crisis Roadmap, the EU’s role in the Middle East peace roadmap and of course the Bali Roadmap towards climate panacea (which, as it happens, Europe seems to be currently continuing to navigate whilst pushing the deadlines further back…changing the scale of the roadmap, perhaps). There’s even a European Gender Policy Roadmap. Not to mention the Michelin guide to restaurants, close to the hearts of the French delegation.

How then to navigate this complex network of overlapping policy maps?  We need a handy guide for confused citizens making their way through the policy jungle. Like a roadmap.  A roadmap of roadmaps. Such a roadmap could embrace the digital age and be available via mobile application. This downloadable ‘Roadmapp’ could allow handsfree navigation of sudden changes in policy direction, with add-ons including the option to have the phrase “Changed Priorities Ahead. Please perform a U-turn”  uttered repeatedly by celebrities in all 23 of the Union’s official languages.  The Maltese version is expected to be particularly popular.

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