28th May 2023

EU prepares overhaul of information strategies

The EU Commission is preparing for a complete overhaul of the European Union Communication and Information strategies. A 49-page document, prepared by EU Commissioner Antonio Vitorino in co-operation with the EU Commission President, Romano Prodi, was adopted in the weekly meeting of the EU Commissioners in Strasbourg on Tuesday and negotiated between representatives of the Parliament and the Commission on Wednesday.

The leaked strategy document, which was presented by The Telegraph, outlines a plan to spend 267 million euros over four years to improve the perception that citizens have of the European Union.

Ignorance and low election turn-outs

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The strategy aims to counter problems such as citizens not understanding the EU and ignoring the European Union. This is clearly expressed by low turn-outs in European elections. 63% voted in the first European election in 1979 but only 49% in the latest election in 1999.

According to the document, the three main EU institutions: Council, Commission and Parliament must better co-ordinate their information activities and include the national information activities into their strategy to increase the effect. A so-called memorandum of understanding will set out the principles for the work division between the institutions and the member states by November 2002 and a meeting in December this year is planned to include the national heads of information into the work.

Euro campaign a successful example

The document, written in French and entitled 'An Information and Communication Strategy for the European Union', calls for a pre-emptive use of public relations to promote "the legitimacy, image, and role of the union." Via opinion surveys such as those prepared by the Eurobarometer, the EU already knows what the citizens favour: Peace, jobs, fewer crimes, less poverty, equality and protection of the environment, as mentioned by the document.

When basic European policies are communicated, the need for a certain policy will be related to the defined will of the people in order to show the benefit of EU activities. A basic reference frame will be developed for each core activity of the European Union and tested in focus groups in the member states before being implemented. The campaign to introduce the euro is mentioned as a successful example of how to work.

Some 700 centres of information are already open to use by the EU information activity as well 500 speakers, the paper says. This potential can be used even more efficiently in the future.

Multi-annual programme set up by September

The Group (GII) has been proposed to play the central role in defining the main information activities by setting up a multi annual program, covering the years 2003-2004. This work must be finished by September this year before the first reading of the EU budget 2003, the strategy paper says. In 2005 the activities will be evaluated and new plans drafted, which take into consideration enlargement and the result of an inter-governmental conference, which is foreseen to change the EU founding treaties.

The GII group is a little-known group that already meets twice a year, with representation from the three main EU institutions. The European Parliament is represented by Spanish Christian Democrat MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, German Christian Democrat MEP Elmar Brok, German Social Democrat MEP Christa Randzio-Plath and French Socialist MEP Michel Rocard.

EU accused of pooling money for propaganda purpose

The Bruges Group said that the EU is pooling in money in organisations and campaigns with the intention of manipulating public opinion to support the integrationist vision of Europe. With its latest issue 'Federalist Thought Control: The Brussels propaganda machine', the Bruges Group intends to kick-off a campaign against what they described as the EU's undermining of fair democratic debate in Europe. The Bruges group regards this as an issue of firm importance especially since many European nations are approaching EU related referendums.

MEPs voice concerns over EU information strategy

In an exchange of views with Commissioner Antonio Vitorino and Parliamentary Vice President Mr Vidal-Quadras Roca, questions were again asked on the EU's proposed information strategy.

At the meeting Mr Vitorino sought to underscore the necessity of a "non-neutral" information strategy with pedagogic content.


How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon

The EU led support for the waste management crisis in Lebanon, spending around €89m between 2004-2017, with at least €30m spent on 16 solid-waste management facilities. However, it failed to deliver.


Europe's missing mails

How the EU Commission and national governments delete official emails and text messages — creating areas of decision-making without oversight and control.

MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024

"This will be the first time a member state that is under the Article 7 procedure will take over the rotating presidency of the council," French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the key lawmaker on Hungary, warned.


How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon

The EU led support for the waste management crisis in Lebanon, spending around €89m between 2004-2017, with at least €30m spent on 16 solid-waste management facilities. However, it failed to deliver.

Latest News

  1. How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon
  2. EU criminal complicity in Libya needs recognition, says expert
  3. Europe's missing mails
  4. MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024
  5. PFAS 'forever chemicals' cost society €16 trillion a year
  6. EU will 'react as appropriate' to Russian nukes in Belarus
  7. The EU needs to foster tech — not just regulate it
  8. EU: national energy price-spike measures should end this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us