Nobody likes to be kept in the dark

by Salomé, head of France

In these times of pandemic, more and more people call for an EU coordinated approach to health threats – and beyond. But this also makes us realise how little we actually know about what is going on in the other countries.  
As a public affairs professional in France, I am often asked in my interactions with policy makers how our European neighbours compare on a given policy dossier. And this shows the limits of our information systems. Policy making should not reinvent the wheel: are we developing a policy proposal that has already been put forward, and failed, in another Member State? Is there any lesson we can learn from a topic being discussed at length in the Bundestag?  
Despite Germany being our largest neighbour, the communication and information bridges are not fluid, and for non-German speakers, i.e. the vast majority of the French population, it is nearly impossible to fully understand the policy debate in Germany. Only a good understanding of policy approaches can lead to appropriate policy responses.  
Being able to access information at a level of granularity and neutrality unmatched in mainstream – or even specialized – media is an invaluable asset. Working mostly in the healthcare area, I have, so far, not been able to find a way to assess the level of prioritization of a topic in the German policy debate. The multiple sources required to makesuch assessment, and the language barrier, are the main reasons why this is simply impossible without the help of technology. 
That is the power of breaking the language barrier and allowing you to access and compare policy information in real-time, and without any bias.  



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