Communication Policy & Strategy
The 2004-2009 Commission is the first Commission to officially make Communication a strategic objective. This was “sealed” with the adoption on 20 July 2005 of an action plan by the Commission to improve "communicating Europe". But the shaping of the Commission’s Communication policy and strategy starts earlier with the documents, listed bellow (last at the top).
February 2012: Rationalisation of the European Commission's public websites
Websites are a key tool to inform citizens and stakeholders about EU policies, legislation, their rights in the internal market, grants, employment opportunities and many other things that affect their daily lives. Furthermore, the web is a very cost-effective, accessible and efficient means of communication, which is particularly relevant in the current political and financial context where we must account for every euro of taxpayer´s money we spend.
Although over 40 million people visit Commission websites every month, many more would visit, and return to, these sites if they were more coherent and user focused. Research shows that visitors to EUROPA – the Commission's web platform - would benefit from fewer and better sites.
With this in mind, the Commission is rationalising its presence on the web. This project aims to improve the quality of our online information and services. At the same time it will help better meet the needs of our users, whilst cutting cost and content duplication.
On the basis of the results which are expected in autumn 2012, the Commission plans to rethink its web and digital communications to keep pace with the breathtaking evolution of the communication landscape and citizens' expectations.
November 2011: A common visual identity for the Commission
Following the decision to adopt a common visual identity to strengthen the corporate image of the European Commission, communicated in the note to the Directors-General (23/11/2011), and announced in the note on the Implementation of the Commission's Visual Identity on the web (12/12/2011), the Commission standard template has been updated to implement this new corporate visual identity on the web.
Depending on the context, DGs may choose to apply the new visual identity within their current environment, or to implement the new template 2012.
The graphical specifications and tools to create the new banner can be found on the standard template page.
Guidelines for implementing the new visual identity using previous versions of the template are available at CWCMS portal.
December 2007: Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizens
Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizens (SEC(2007) 1742). The Commission launches a new Internet strategy embracing the Internet culture and aiming at making full use of the recent online developments in communication. According to this document, the Commission faces a twofold challenge: it needs to overhaul the EUROPA site and stimulate interest in EU affairs on other websites in order to broaden the debate on the European Union. This strategy is a follow-up to the Commission’s recent Communication “Communicating Europe in Partnership”. It is one of many ways of ensuring that the citizen’s right to be informed on EU issues remains a reality and a priority.
3 October 2007: Communicating Europe in Partnership
Communicating Europe in Partnership (COM(2007) 568 final) have the aim of informing the public more fully on the European Union (EU) and of giving citizens a more prominent voice. EU nationals are entitled to know about proposals made by EU officials, their governments being part of that Union, and also to influence their content. Since this Communication on European affairs was the result of a joint effort, a number of partnerships will be forged between the other institutions and the Member States.
November 2006: "e-Commission 2006-2010"
The Commission adopts a strategic framework, aiming to become a first class e-administration and improve its efficiency and transparency through the best use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
1 February 2006: White Paper on a European communication policy
The Commission publishes its proposal on communicating better with the public [214 KB], inviting comments from all sections of society.
13 October 2005: Plan-D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate
After the European constitution is rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands, EU leaders call for a period of reflection. The Commission proposes its plan to stimulate more democracy, dialogue and debate in the EU.
20 July 2005: Action plan to improve communicating Europe by the Commission
The Commission adopted on 20 July 2005 an action plan [253 KB] to improve communicating Europe by the Commission. The extract below specifically concerns the Internet:
The EU website, "EUROPA", is the largest public website in the world and a rich source of information and has a key role to play in the Commission’s communication efforts. There is, however, a need to shift the emphasis more towards communication, to facilitate navigation, to strive to ensure that EUROPA pages are fully multilingual at the appropriate level and to operate with state of the art technology, including a powerful search engine.
DG Communication [the new name of DG PRESS] will therefore establish an Editor for EUROPA, with the objective of ensuring a well-structured website and avoiding overlaps of texts.
DG Communication will concentrate its intensified editorial efforts on a news site focusing on EU Communication priorities and current ‘hot’ topics, and on a number of general sites for young people and other key target audiences. Information for the general public will be fed locally by the Representations in their language(s) and tailored to local needs and realities.
Thematic pages addressing a more specialist audience will be managed by the DGs responsible for any given topic, under the authority of the editor and with editorial help if necessary from DG Communication.
Thematic portals should move beyond the Commission's DGs and services so that anyone interested can, with just one click, get an overview of a subject from all the institutions.
25 July 2001: White Paper on European Governance
On 25 July 2001, the Commission adopted a White Paper on European Governance.
The paragraphs quoted below relate specifically to the development of EUROPA in the short term:
"Democracy depends on people being able to take part in public debate. To do this, they must have access to reliable information on European issues and be able to scrutinise the policy process in its various stages. Major progress has been made in 2001 with the adoption of new rules giving citizens greater access to Community documents. However, the Institutions and Member States also need to communicate more actively with the general public on European issues. The communication policy of the Commission and the other Institutions will promote efforts to deliver information at national and local level, where possible making use of networks, grassroots organisations and national, regional and local authorities. Information should be presented in a way adapted to local needs and concerns, and be available in all official languages if the Union is not to exclude a vast proportion of its population – a challenge which will become more acute in the context of enlargement.
Information and communication technologies have an important role. Accordingly, the EU’s EUROPA Website is set to evolve into an inter-active platform for information, feedback and debate, linking parallel networks across the Union.
Providing more information and more effective communication are a pre-condition for generating a sense of belonging to Europe. The aim should be to create a trans-national "space" where citizens from different countries can discuss what they perceive as being the important challenges for the Union. This should help policy makers to stay in touch with European public opinion, and could guide them in identifying European projects which mobilise public support."
6 July 2001: EUROPA 2nd Generation
On 6 July 2001, the European Commission published a paper setting out new goals for the development of EUROPA [95 KB].
This paper specifies the interdepartmental responsibilities of particular Commission departments (particularly DG Press, the Directorate-General for Informatics and the Publications Office of the European Union). It also sets out the intradepartmental responsibilities of all Commission departments in terms of supplying material for EUROPA.
8 June 2001: e-Commission
On 8 June 2001, the Commission adopted a paper entitled " Towards the e-Commission: Implementation Strategy 2001-2005 (Actions 7, 8 and 9 of the Reform White Paper)".
This paper forms part of the European Union’s "e-Europe" initiative. It defines the three main strands of the "e-Commission" as follows:
- modernisation of the internal administration: better value for money
- more efficient communication with external partners
- better public service to citizens and business
The development of EUROPA is part of the third strand.