EuRoman

This article on the expected ‘communication revolution’ is a scoop . But the source is one senior individual at the Commission, and some issues are not new. Which is why a debate is necessary: it takes place within the EU institutions, and could also leak into the open. Including here?

Here are some questions, on which you, dear reader, may reflect:

– is there a natural ‘swing of the pendulum’ between centralisation and decentralisation?

star-treatment of the President seems to be a necessary PR trend. Does it necessarily follow that most communication should be centralised? On the contrary?

– most EU communication budgets are with ‘sectoral’ DGs, either at their communication units, or within various projects. They address not general EU matters, but crucial information and debates for national sectoral stakeholders. How to sustain their motivation and wish to coordinate while not overly centralising?

– are the heads of representation as limited as the article’s source seems to indicate, or do they miss resources?

– the Brussels press corps is shrinking, and national media attention to Europe decreasing. There are probably more PR and press attachés than journalists in this sector… Some people try to do something (see also Cavada below). Shouldn’t the EU institutions do more about media economics?

– what is the risk of going back to old DG X days, with information and then PR, as opposed to communication on the one hand, and ‘porte parole’ press relations on the other?

– given long Commission procedures for appointments and then new projects, how long does the revolution take until it has an impact?

My own personal wish is that a ‘revolution’ does not slow down communication initiatives under way, as it did when M. Wallström arrived, as the first Commissioner for communication. Despite the strong ‘wake up calls’ of negative referenda and poor election turn out, and the limitations of the ‘EU public sphere’ approach.

Now it’s your turn….

Christophe Leclercq

Next steps suggested?
Some experts reading this article, or this post, will have strong views on this – or factual elements. They can chose to react below in their name (always the best), or using a pseudonyme (this does not contradict Blogactiv’s guidelines). Or they can reach me by phone or email. While I didn’t draft the article in question, I always welcome feed-back and strictly respect such sources.

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Comments

  1. Quand les fonctionnaires européens auront compris que l’adhésion citoyenne dépend en très grande partie de l’utilisation d’une langue commune (le français ou l’espéranto, au diable l’anglais) ils seront devenus un peu plus en contact avec la réalité; mais ils ont peur de l’opinion publique qui pourrait devenir transfrontalière; l’Europe des citoyens n’existe donc pas, alors pour améliorer la communication, la solution proposée, c’est encore sorti du cerveau d’un fonctionnaire assis sur son nuage, loin dans la stratosphère, comme d’habitude; plus les citoyens sont divisés mieux les fonctionnaires naviguent dans l’océan du fric européen.

  2. EU institutions should definately do more in the media field. I am afraid that proposed changes will not bring the desired effect.

    Centralisation is in certain occasions a good method, but considering the EU structure and the EU public sphere, it may not give good results.

    EU communication strategy definately has to be discussed and developed further.

  3. Is the mandatory attendance of MEPs at Barrosos “State of the EU” speech in the EP already a first sign of concentrating attention around Barroso? 🙂

    More seriously, the focus on Barroso will not help in my view. The EU needs to understand that it’s a few little things (lightbulbs, EU salaries, lobbying (in)-transparency) that come to most people’s mind when thinking about the EU. It’s maybe there where there should be more focus on action, not at Barroso.

  4. Thank you Preyat, Montenegro Open and BrusselsBlogger for your comments.
    It strikes me that both some of the measures taken and also the reactions ( and even prejudices about eurocrats?) are not new.

    A few years into the internal market programme, in the late 80’s, Delors enjoyed celebrity across borders (even in the US, thanks to ‘fortress Europe’ fears), in a way that Barrroso is now trying to emulate, indeed with modern ways.

    As for the State of the Union speech, well, the January address in Strasbourg has been going for several years. Now itt’s about the content, not the format.

    So, a few grand ideas on comm channels may be necessary, but the key is in good implementation of thousands of little things. Plus political will by a number of people, but that’s another story…

    Christophe Leclercq

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