One of the things I love about conferences is meeting new and interesting people. One of the other things is connecting with people I know (as I mentioned the other day).

On both counts, being in Brussels over the past couple of days has been just great.

Today was the second and final day of the European Communication Summit at the rather grand Résidence Palace, otherwise known as the International Press Centre.

This was a big conference, big in terms of speakers – over 60 speakers in total comprising some pretty influential communicators at senior levels in organizations throughout Europe.

The day started with a thought-provoking keynote speech by Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament, who planted some thoughts in my mind about why the European Union doesn’t seem to work. Or rather, how people perceive the EU and come to that conclusion.

It would be so easy to say it’s a communication issue. To a greater or lesser extent, I think there is some truth there. Few of the 493 million citizens of the 27-member state EU really understand how it all works, and its relevance to them. As Cox pointed out, there’s a common mindset out there that says “blame it on Brussels.” He also pointed out that an entity with such institutional complexity, that lives and breathes acronyms and Eurospeak, and has 22 working languages has some major challenges, to put it mildly. And not just communication.

So for me as a concerned citizen of an EU member state, plenty to dwell on when I read about the next pronouncement out of Brussels.