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EU institutions agree to communicate in partnership

Date

23 Oct 2008

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

Today in the European Parliament a political declaration was signed which commits the Member States and the EU institutions to work together on communication. The declaration, entitled "Communicating Europe in Partnership", was signed by Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Minister of State on behalf of the Council of the EU and Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, said "More information and better communication are necessary if we want to raise the interest of European citizens in the European Union and make them aware of the achievements of the European Union for their daily lives. We need to convince them of the value of the common European project, guaranteeing peace and defending a unique way of living and working together. I very much welcome the joint effort of the institutions for achieving this by joining their forces in the area of communication."

Jean-Pierre Jouyet said: "The Irish referendum as well as the previous ones showed that communication is a key element in explaining the benefits of the European Union to public opinion, which was confirmed by the study provided by the Irish Prime Minister during the last European Council. That is the reason why the three institutions and the Member States should make progress on that matter and cooperate better. I hope this agreement will help all of us."

Margot Wallström said: "To communicate you need to plan, to prioritise and to work in partnership. These are the key tools for a successful communication. This declaration puts in place a framework in which we can use these tools in an efficient way."

Against the backdrop of a generally low level of knowledge about the European Union among citizens, Member States and Institutions wish to underline with this political agreement the importance they attach to communicating with European citizens about Europe.

Up to now, Member States and Institutions have each communicated on European issues individually. But in today's world we cannot afford not to work together. The EU must deal with global challenges in a coherent and coordinated manner. All involved in EU decision-making have a responsibility to inform the citizens and explain these issues to them and discuss them with them.

If people are not adequately informed, in a language they understand, about the issues and policies their representatives in the European Parliament and the Council are signing up to, then we risk generating a crisis of legitimacy.

With this agreement, the institutions and the Member States have decided to address the communication challenge together. They have agreed on a pragmatic partnership approach with the annual selection of joint communication priorities and practical cooperation between the communication departments of Member States and Institutions.

The Commission has been requested to report back on the implementation of the agreement at the end of each year.

Background documents:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/index_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/wallstrom/index_en.htm
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