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1. Basics

This section explains the basic concepts of the communication strategy of the European Commission via the Internet and its practical implementation. It contains an overview of the communication policy (including links to all relevant documents), explains the structure of the europa.eu domain and tells you how the different sites in this domain are managed.

Activities

As a staff member involved in site production and/or maintenance and especially if you are a new staff member of a web unit, you should:

  • Get to know the Information and Communication Unit of your DG or your institution. Talk to them and ask them to explain what is the unit’s communication policy for the current year and the year to follow.
  • If you are working in a Commission DG, read the relevant communication documents in order to familiarise yourself with the ‘aim’ of the Commission’s online communication.
  • Start attending the EUROPA Forum meetings as often as possible: it will help you get to know the web teams of Commission DGs and services. Get involved in a group of Internet editors. After you have contacted these two teams they will add your e-mail address to all the relevant distribution lists and you will be informed in any urgent actions needs to be taken or if any information needs to be distributed
  • Familiarise yourself with the legal aspects of information published on europa.eu
  • Contact IPG team should you have any questions about the guide.
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1.1. What is EUROPA?

EUROPA is the European Union's Web portal accessible via the address http://europa.eu. It is managed by the European Commission (DG COMM) in co-ordination with all EU institutions. Given the central role of the Commission, the name EUROPA is also widely used to refer to both this portal and the European Commission’s own website hosted at the address http://ec.europa.eu. DG Communication has direct responsibility for the top-level pages of Europa, such as the homepage and a number of general information sites directly accessible from it, as well as for the Commission’s homepage and the overall co-ordination of the sites of the Commission’s directorates-general and services. Each institution and each directorate-general or service are responsible for the individual style and contents of their own site.

EUROPA provides a vast array of information on European integration concerning the European Union's objectives, policies and institutional set-up. It is designed to be as user-friendly as possible in line with the EU institutions' commitment to openness and one of its main objectives is to make information accessible to the greatest number of people possible. This means not only dealing with the problems posed by all forms of physical handicap or those faced by all the people on the wrong side of the digital divide, but also providing information in as many EU languages as possible. Compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA is guaranteed, at least for the top level pages. For the same reason multilingualism is a priority for the Commission, and the number of EUROPA official languages is bound to be further increased with the next rounds of enlargement.

The EUROPA site was launched in February 1995 on the occasion of the G7 ministerial meeting on the information society organised by the Commission in Brussels. Although it was originally designed for that particular event, EUROPA expanded rapidly and the Commission decided to turn it into a useful information resource for everyone, specialising in all matters covered by the EU Treaties and the work of the European Institutions. The general public makes great use of EUROPA and statistics show an average of 165 million page viewings per month.

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1.2. Structure of EUROPA

The EUROPA family contains a large number of sites, ranging from the top level inter-institutional EUROPA site, the first entry point for the general public, to specialised sites giving information to a very specific population. This chapter gives an overview of the sites that are part of the EUROPA family. It shows which sites are constructed following the rules of this Information Providers Guide.

Strictly speaking, EUROPA only refers to the top level institution-independent site http://europa.eu. However, as explained in the previous section, the term EUROPA is often used to refer to all sites managed by the Commission. These include the general public sites with URLs of type xxx.europa.eu and the Commission site http://ec.europa.eu. The Inventory of EUROPA websites offers comprehensive list with detalied information for each website: the URL, the domain, the webmaster, the DG, the type of site, its audience, the theme or topic, the statistics, the technology, the number of pages, etc.

The top level pages of EUROPA are usually the first point of contact a citizen will have with the EU websites. The site user does not necessarily need to know the structure of the EU or who does what. The same holds for the other general public sites which are adressed with a specific name such as xxx.europa.eu because of their particular aim (the section Types of sites provides a detailed description of the sites that are part of the EUROPA family). On the other hand, the Commission pages concern only the European Commission and may require some more specialised knowledge.

The sites of all EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission, Council, etc.) are part of the EUROPA family and can be accessed through the main EUROPA site, serving as the gateway to these institutions. The appartainance to the family is shown by the URL of the institutional sites which has the form http://institution.europa.eu, such as for example http://europarl.europa.eu

This guide describes the rules to which sites managed by the Commission have to comply.

 

Structure of europa.eu

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1.2.1. europa.eu

The interinstitutional "europa.eu" site brings together information from all the European institutions. Even though each institution manages its own site, EUROPA is designed as the starting point for all information concerning the European Union. Around 30 million visitors a month start their search for EU information from the homepage which is available in 24 languages.

The aim of the europa.eu top level pages are twofold:

  • to help people find official EU information and services on the Web
  • to provide information on how the EU operates.

The top level pages are run by DG Communication on behalf of the EU institutions. 
Interinstitutional Editorial Committee was created to set up a permanent structure to coordinate the development of the institutions’ websites. The Committee meet on a regular basis to discuss the development of these pages and also to discuss the EU's Web presence more generally.

Description

Basic guide to EU and policies

The top level of the EU's website offers basic information on how the EU operates.

The top level pages offer a beginner's guides to EU policies. This section is also under review to respond to user feedback and to make the pages more dynamic (eg including updated news and events in each policy field).

Interinstitutional sites

Sites that have an interinstitutional mission and content or which are not linked to a particular institution or DG can be hosted at EU level.

Examples of sites which have an EU character include:

  • Press Releases RAPID is for journalists.
  • EU newsroom gathers news from EU institutions.
  • Europe Direct is for citizens looking for advice or help in their neighbourhood, or for a local forum promoting dialogue and awareness about EU policies.
  • Transparency Register offers a single access to Civil Society to register and contribute to EU policy making.

Sites targeting the general public and providing EU information not related to a single Institution or DG can also have an europa.eu name. For more details see the section on types of sites.

Linking service

The europa.eu site serves as a portal or linking service to EU information online. The site is divided into 6 main topics:

There are around 80 pages behind the home page which send visitors to many 1000s of different sources of EU information. Each link is explained briefly to help users in their search. The two most popular sections are About the EU and Publications and documents. The home page also provides quick links to EU institutions and bodies, as well as contact information, news and features.

The design, layout and navigation of the site was tested extensively on users and was designed for accessibility and quick download times.

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1.2.2. ec.europa.eu - Commission sites

The Commission site provides access to great deal of information provided by the different Directorates-General, Services and Commissioners private offices. This information may be administrative or thematic and relates to the executive role of the European Commission – such as its legislation and policy initiatives, work programmes, services, official documents, news and current affairs (press releases, events, etc.). The Commission site also provides the contact points for the various Commission departments, the Representations and the Delegations.

Definition

The different sites that in their entirety compose the Commission site are managed by the individual Directorates-General and services in a decentralised way.
Each site, however, must fit into the overall structure of the Commission's site, which means that they must:

Commission sites can be divided into two main categories:

  1. 'Generic' sites or portals (which include policy sites, priority sites, audience portals, service sites e.a.)
  2. Organisational sites (which include the Commissioner sites, the DG sites and the sites of the Representations).

The Commission pages are easily recognisable by their banner/template. A few examples of Commission templates can be seen at the following sites: European Commission, EuropeAid, Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, and so on.

DG Communication has direct responsibility for the Commission’s home page and for the overall co-ordination of the sites of the Commission’s directorates-general and services. Each directorate or individual service is responsible for the contents of its own site.

Some principles should apply to all categories:

  • sites should comply with the common look and feel to contribute to the corporate image of the Commission or the European Union as a whole;
  • sites should link to existing central services (e.g. "EUR-Lex", "Rapid", etc.) to prevent duplication, avoid contradictions and simplify maintenance;
  • sites should follow the “inverted pyramid” approach: the top-level pages should explain the policies in plain language and general terms for a wider, non-specialist audience. More specialised and detailed information should only be provided at deeper levels, and links to individual files should be properly introduced and explained;
  • sites should be as multilingual as possible, especially in the "top-levels", and should always explain their chosen language policy in a dedicated section;
  • sites should provide the widest possible access to the information on EUROPA, even when part of that information is actually produced by another DG or Service;
  • sites should provide contact details for the authors and/or webmasters, and particularly a "contact" button leading to one or more functional mailboxes belonging to the site itself.
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1.3. Web addresses / URLs

Mandatory requirement

All official websites of the European Institutions and Agencies must use URL address in the second level domain europa.eu with the following syntax: (ec.)europa.eu/sitename

 

View all IPG Rules

For the purposes of consistency of presentation, search engine optimization and to project a corporate identity of the EUROPA pages, there are several requirements related to the creation of web addresses and file names.

Domain names

Following a decision of the Secretariat-Generalpdf(123 kB) Choose translations of the previous link , the web pages of the European institutions are using a common second level domain europa.eu. The use of other second level domain names is not allowed for hosting official EU sites. Nevertheless in order to protect them from abuse by third parties a certain number of second level domain names have been reserved by the EU institutions at the start up of the .eu domain

The second level domain europa.eu is managed by the Commission.

The document "Règles et procédures pour l’attribution d’adresses de sites web gérés par les institutions, organes et organismes de l’Union européenne dans le domaine .eupdf(33 kB) Choose translations of the previous link " issued by the Interinstitutional Editorial Committee for Internet (CEiii) describes the detailed rules for allocation of higher level domain names within the europa.eu domain.

The names of the institutions’ and agencies' sites are composed by adding a third level identification (for example for the Commission ec.europa.eu or the Parliament europarl.europa.eu)

Executive agencies of the Commission can have their own fourth level domain name within the third level domain ec.europa.eu.

Third level names other than institution names can be attributed for special sites, subject to the approval of the CEiii. The creation of such third level names should nevertheless be the exception. Preference must be given to the creation of sites within the europa.eu or ec.europa.eu domain.

Allocation of site names within the europa.eu or ec.europa.eu domain is governed by the rules explained in the section 'Types of websites' .

Generally speaking the following rules apply:

  • Institution independent sites or sites that have an interinstitutional mission and content should use a sub-address of the europa.eu domain. These sites will always target the general public. They must use the Interinstitutional template; no specific institution should claim the 'ownership' of the site, even if the site is exclusively managed by that particular institution or DG.
  • Commission sites should use a sub-address in the ec.europa.eu domain and the Commission template. Commission sites will mostly target a more specialised public, but can contain sections that are more oriented towards the general public.

As explained in the section 'Types of sites', it is important to keep a homogeneous approach to the site structure of the Commission sites. Information about a specific topic should be presented in the context of the policy to which it belongs. This can however create naming problems when that topic needs special promotion because of its high importance. The URL of the subsite presenting the topic can be too long to be promoted.

To answer this problem, shorter 'virtual' addresses can be created that will redirect to the real address.

If you on the other hand are looking for a short version of a EUROPA-related URL, using a random code, please follow the instructions available on the URL Shortener page.

Syntax of URLs and its promotion

Websites must use the following syntax: (ec.)europa.eu/sitename.

URLs must not be promoted to the general public before the URLs have been approved and set up. The address must be checked in a browser before being used (e.g. social media, press releases), printed on promotional material (e.g. posters, leaflets) or referred to in audio/video materials.

URLs must not be printed in upper case: (EC.)EUROPA.EU/SITENAME is not the same as (ec.)europa.eu/sitename and the upper case examples will not work.

URL structure

Sites must be structured by subject, and not by language. Files are not segregated into separate language-specific directories. Rather, language must be reflected in the name of the web pages themselves. Thus, all the different language versions of any given document must be found together in a single directory.

Filenames for different language versions of the same web document are assigned as follows: The 'base-name' for each version must be exactly the same, and expressed in English.

A suffix is added to the 'base-name', preceded by an underscore character '_', indicating the language of the document, followed by the file extension. The 'standard suffix' uses the ISO abbreviation for the language in question (_bg, _cs, _da, _de, _et, _el, _en, _es, _fr, _ga, _it, _lv, _lt, _hr, _hu, _mt, _nl, _pl, _pt, _ro, _sk, _sl, _fi, _sv) (as in index_en.htm, index_bg.htm, index_cs.htm…).

The multilingual index page used as default has to be named without any language suffix.

All names of directories and files must be in lower case to avoid problems of compatibility between platforms which are case-sensitive (e.g. UNIX) and those which are not (e.g. DOS/Windows).

Multiple word names

In case a file name or URL contains multiple words, it is necessary to separate these words by preferably hyphen '-' (Correct: multiple-words_en.htm) or underscore '_' (Correct: multiple_words_en.htm). While there is no technical difference between these two options, words separated by hyphens are more intelligible to search engines and webmasters are urged to choose them.

For reasons of clarity and search engine optimization, the use of merged multiple word names is not allowed (Incorrect: multiplewords_en.htm). For the same reasons the file names should be meaningful words or phrases and not series of numbers (Incorrect: 546846321_en.htm).

Do not include unnecessary words such as 'and' and 'the' on the folder and file names.

Request a web address/URL

You should follow the procedure described on how to request a web address.

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1.4. EUROPA management

The sites in the europa.eu domain are managed in a decentralised way. This means that each Community institution or body, including each Commission Directorate-General (DG) is responsible for the creation, management and update of the pages and sites that concern them.
The advantage of this is that content is added and updated more quickly and is done closer to the source of the information concerned, thereby improving its accuracy.
Possible disadvantages concern the difficulties in coordinating the creation, updating and evolution of such decentralised sites. It is also more difficult to keep a common presentational identity, which can lead to citizens’ disorientation. There is also always a risk of duplicating information.

To achieve optimal coordination europa.eu is managed in a very structured way. It is based on 3 basic principles: strategy and planning of overall site policy, day-to-day coordination of websites, and types of roles involved in management of the websites.

The strategy and planning is ensured at committee level. Representatives from DG’s and/or institutions are appointed accordingly, ensuring coordination among the respective entities. The day-to-day work of course takes place at Information and Communication Unit or Web Sector level. Coordination and support is ensured by the EUROPA team in DG COMM with technical backup from your DG’s Information Resources Manager (IRM) who can, if necessary, receive the support of the Directorate-General of Informatics (DIGIT). Depending on the DG’s web team and/or site(s) organisation, many different roles are described in this section. Ideally, one role would correspond to one person, but in practice, one person will assume several roles at various times and at various points in the process.

How to find out more

  • Find out your DG’s representative in every committee described in this section. You are most likely one of them!
  • Get acquainted with your DG’s IRM team. They are always informed about technological developments and can help with most technical problems.

 

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1.4.1. Governance/Committees

The strategy and planning of the overall policy of the sites on EUROPA is managed via different high-level committees.

At the interinstitutional level (europa.eu), it is the Interinstitutional Editorial Committee for Internet (CEiii) that ensures the coordination.

The governance structure for managing sites within the Commission's domain (ec.europa.eu) is defined in its Internet strategy paper "Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizenspdf(338 kB) Choose translations of the previous link ". It foresees the appointment of an EUROPA editor who is the final decision-maker on all daily operations for the content of the top layers of the EUROPA and Commission websites. The editor is assisted by an editorial board composed of permanent members and complemented where necessary and appropriate by Internet editors designated by their DGs. A technical committee steers all technical decisions necessary to offer a modern and powerful Internet platform, based on input from the webmaster community represented through the EUROPA Webmasters Forum.

EUROPA Forum Technical Committee EUROPA ECN - External Communications Network Interinstitutional Editorial Committee

 

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1.4.1.1. Interinstitutional Editorial Committee (CEiii)

The Inter-institutional Editorial Committee on the internet (CEiii) is a permanent structure to coordinate the development of the institutions’ websites and oversee the inter-institutional pages of EUROPA.

Introduction

The CEiii facilitates the exchange of information, shares good practices and creates synergies between institutions and other EU bodies on digital communication. It deals with a variety of subjects, from editorial issues to technological development.

Each institution retains complete autonomy over its websites and other online channels, as well as takes decisions on digital strategy, operations and resources according to its internal rules and procedures.

The CEiii was organised in 2001 on the basis of recommendationspdf from the Inter‑institutional Internet Task Force and works according to a mandatepdf. It is chaired by DG Communication, the Commission department responsible for the EUROPA website. It meets every two months.

CEiii's work – examples

Inter-institutional EUROPA websites and services:

Editorial matters:

  • Development of general editorial rules
  • Establishment of reliable and systematic links to the institutions’ and OP document databases: EU Bookshop, TED, EURLEX, etc.
  • Coordination of online promotion of important EU events, e.g. European elections, Nobel Peace Prize, Europe Day, etc.
  • Cooperation to enhance social media outreach at inter-institutional level

Standardisation and re-use of web components:

Activity Report

Collaborative workspace

Meetings

Members

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1.4.1.2. External Communication Network (ECN)

The main mission of the ECN is to exchange best practices on preparation and implementation of communication plans and other communication practices. It also aims at facilitating DG COMM's assistance to other DGs on technical issues and strives towards a more effective and cost-efficient use of tools (audiovisual, Internet, citizens' help-lines, etc.) and evaluation methods.

Description

The ECN, composed of all DGs' Information and Communication Heads of Unit, was created in 2002 and was relaunched with the Action Plan to Improve Communicating Europe by the Commissionpdf Choose translations of the previous link  (SEC(2005) 985/final, see action 4).

The members of the ECN are the Heads of the DGs Communication Units as described in the Action Plan. However, other representatives of DGs may attend ECN meetings and working groups, if the agenda requires.

Mission

Within the context of EUROPA, the ECN has the following mandate:

  • Endorse the vision and general orientations proposed by the editor for EUROPA and the Commission's websites.
  • Monitor central Internet services provided to line DGs and give feedback on efficiency and added value.
  • Propose options/solutions for the structure of sites and wider technological developments and tools.
  • Raise and maintain awareness of senior management as to the importance of Internet communication.
  • Oversee the provision of training for Internet communication (editorial, technical skills and research).

Organisation and working

The ECN meets approximately 5-6 times a year on the basis of established agendas. The meetings of the ECN are organised and chaired by DG COMM.

The ECN has four working groups, in charge of the implementation of the Action Plan:

  • Working Group I  : Communications Planning/Planning Ahead (Chaired and managed by COMM)
  • Working Group II : Communication Tools (Chaired and managed by COMM)
  • Working Group III: Human Resources (Chaired and managed by HR)
  • Working Group IV: Networks (Chaired and managed by COMM)

Meetings

The ECN meets approximately 5-6 times a year on the basis of established agendas. The meetings of the ECN are organised and chaired by DG COMM.

Minutes of meetings 

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1.4.1.3. EUROPA Forum

In accordance to the Communication Towards the e-Commission: Europa 2nd generationpdf Choose translations of the previous link  adopted on 6 July 2001 (C(2001)1753), a EUROPA Forum has been created. Its role was confirmed by the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf(338 kB) Choose translations of the previous link .

The EUROPA Forum is made up by the representative(s) of every Directorate-General and department of the Commission.
Each Directorate-General and department shall formally nominate the person(s) responsible for the websites of the Directorate-General or department as its representative(s) to the Europa Forum.

Webmasters from the other Community institutions may attend the meetings of the EUROPA Forum as observers.

Meetings

Members

Collaborative workspace

Mission

As a formal instance of EUROPA’s management structure as defined in the Communication C(2001)1753, the Forum will:

  • Express the needs of the webmasters in terms of infrastructure, tools, training strategy.
  • Take part in the updating of the Information Providers Guide (IPG).
  • Exchange best practices and organise workshops.
  • Participate in the work of the committees of EUROPA's management structure.

Organisation and working

The Forum shall appoint a President, or joint Presidents, for a minimum period of six months. It shall decide its work programme and working calendar.

The EUROPA Forum shall nominate its representative(s) in the Technical Committee. The representative(s) in this committee shall report the opinions of the EUROPA Forum.

Meetings of the EUROPA Forum shall be convened by the President(s).

The President(s) shall draw up the draft agenda for the meetings of the EUROPA Forum.

The presidency is responsible of the secretarial aspects of the Forum, with the exception of drafting the minutes which are assumed by the incoming presidency

The President(s) may decide to invite experts to talk on particular matters, at the request of a member or on its own initiative.

The EUROPA Forum may organise practical workshops and may create working parties to examine particular issues. The working parties shall report back to the Forum.

Voting

If deemed necessary by the members of the EUROPA Forum, the Forum will adopt its voting rules in due course.

Functional Mailbox

The EUROPA Forum has its own functional mailbox, so if you wish to contact the presidents, please address your email to EC-EUROPA-FORUM@ec.europa.eu where presidents of the forum will find it.

Brief history

The Forum was initiated by Benedictus Nieuwenhuis and Giulio Groppi. Since January 1998, the EUROPA Forum has gathered informally every two or three months representatives with web responsibilities from all Commission services.

  • 1st semester 2014: KUKUCKA Pavol (SANCO) and BLOCH Didier (TRADE)
  • 2nd semester 2013: BORMANS Yves (MOVE) and VANDEN BORRE Alain (REGIO)
  • 1st semester 2013:  ZOURNATZI Tina (MARE) and STRONCER Dominik (MARKT)  
  • 2nd semester 2012: SANTOS Fabricio (HOME) and DELEHAYE Dominique (JRC)
  • 1st semester 2012: JONES Linda (JUST) and SNAJDAR Alexandr (INFSO)
  • 2nd semester 2011: BORTIN Annika (ESTAT) and AMARO Sergio (EPSO)
  • 1st semester 2011: CHIANALE Patrizia (EAC) and SODJA Luka (ELARG)
  • 1st semester 2010: KOCH Axel (ECHO) and FERAUX Fabian (EACEA)
  • 1st semester 2010: LOCKETT Anthony (EMPL) and CAVALLO Sandra (ENTR)
  • 2nd semester 2009: Chris MAXWELL + Michel GERDAY (ECFIN) and Silvia BOMBARDONE + Massimo LUPO (OP)
  • 1st semester 2009: Michel VAN KERCKHOVEN (COMP) and Werner VAN OSTA(DGT)
  • 2nd semester 2008: Didrik DE SCHAETZEN (AIDCO) and Angeles NOGUEROL (COMM)
  • 1st semester 2008 to June 2008: Marinus CHRIST (SJ) and Nathalie COLLIN (BUDG)
  • 2nd semester 2007: Anne WEBEL ELLMES (SG) and Paul SPYCKERELLE (AGRI)
  • 1st semester 2007: Didier BLOCH (TRADE) and Benedictus NIEUWENHUIS (RELEX)
  • 2nd semester 2006: Keitch JOELS (COMM)
  • 1st semester 2006: Patrizia CHIANALE (EAC) and Guido WERKERS (SANCO)
  • 2nd semester 2005: Robert ANDRECS (TAXUD) and Wolfgang PETZOLD (REGIO)
  • 1st semester 2005 to June 2005: Hans CHRISTOFFERSEN (FISH) and Anne DELAUNOIS (MARKT)
  • 2nd semester 2004: José ARCOS ORTIZ, DG INFSO and Christian HUWAERT, DG JRC.
  • 1st semester 2004: Stephen GOSDEN (RTD) and Carina ARO (ENV)
  • 2nd semester 2003: Wilfried SCHOL (AGRI) and Marguerite GAZZE (TREN)
  • 1st semester 2003: Terence WHALEY (EMPL) and Linda JONES (COMP)
  • 2nd semester 2002: Carina ARO (ENTR) and Robert GANGL (ECFIN)
  • In September 2001, the DGs having officially nominated their representatives to the Forum in accordance with the Communication "EUROPA 2nd generation", Brigitte ARNOLD-WÖRTZ and Marinus CHRIST were elected as new co-chairmen for an eight months period.
  • In January 2001, Madeleine KIHRLBERG and Gerald MESSIAEN were elected as new co-chairmen.

Training materials

EUROPA Forum organises training and workshops. Check if any material is useful for you in the Training chapter.

 

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1.4.1.4. EUROPA editor

In accordance with the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf(338 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  an EUROPA editor has been appointed. He/she will be responsible for the day-to-day management of EUROPA from an editorial standpoint.

Mission

  • Define the vision for EUROPA and Commission websites.
  • Day-to-day operational management of EUROPA and Commission sites and pages to ensure editorial, linguistic and graphical consistency of corporate sites and pages and projection of a coherent image/identity.
  • Strategic and operational planning (short, medium and long term), including identifying the annual resource needs, on the basis of input from DGs and following consultation withDG DIGIT.
  • Ensure compliance and quality control with respect to the IPG.
  • Communicate and promote internet activities in relation with the development of a European public sphere.
  • Mediate and ensure cooperation between DGs.

Organisation and working

The EUROPA editor is appointed by the Director-General of DG COMM.

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1.4.1.5. Editorial Committee EUROPA

In accordance with the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf(338 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  the EUROPA Editorial Committee was created.

The Editorial Committee, chaired by the EUROPA Editor, is composed of permanent members of SPP, SG, DGT, OP, CONNECT & FPI and DIGIT and complemented (where required and/or on their own request) by the Internet editors of DGs, Representations or by representatives of relevant project teams.

Mission

As a formal instance of EUROPA’s management structure as defined in the Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf Choose translations of the previous link  , the Editorial Committee will

  • Assist and support the Editor to ensure editorial and graphical consistency on corporate sites and pages.
  • Provide line DGs with guidelines on how to effectively present their content on the Internet, including advice on comprehensive multimedia packages.
  • Define functional needs for the development/delivery of Internet tools.
  • Recommend the level of multilingualism of individual websites.

Organisation and working

The Editorial Committee is presided by the EUROPA Editor who decides its work programme and working calendar.

Meetings

The Editorial Committee meets approximately 6 times a year on the basis of established agendas. The meetings are organised and chaired by DG COMM.

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1.4.1.6. Internet editors

The Internet editors provide and manage editorial content for the web pages and sites of line DGs and Representations, in particular for the citizen-oriented pages. They also assist DG COMM in implementing the Internet strategy throughout EUROPA.

This is an interesting but also demanding job. Internet editors therefore need:

  • a good knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of the Internet
  • good writing skills for the Internet (or at least editorial experience)
  • strategic understanding and communication background
  • good knowledge of the corporate rules for site construction as laid down in the IPG
  • a well-defined level of "authority" to take decisions on web-related matters

Meetings

List of meetings, held on: 

 

Subgroups

Important documents

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1.4.1.7. Technical Committee EUROPA

In accordance with the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf Choose translations of the previous link , the EUROPA Technical Committee was created.

The Technical Committee, chaired by DG DIGIT, is composed of permanent members of DGs COMM, OP, CONNECT, SCIC, DGT, and the chairman of the EUROPA Forum.

Mission

As a formal instance of EUROPA’s management structure as defined in the communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf Choose translations of the previous link , the Technical Committee will:

  • Monitor developments in Internet technology and formulating technical solutions to meet functional needs as defined by the Editorial Committee, including the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 (and other web trends) and the use of Open Source solutions.
  • Oversee the delivery of technical solutions by web experts across DGs (coordinated and animated by DIGIT).
  • Keep an inventory of all existing and planned web applications and tools developed by web teams in individual DGs that can be re-used by all webmasters.
  • Update the technical chapters of the IPG. 

Organisation and working

The Technical Committee is presided by DG DIGIT who decides its work programme and working calendar.

Wiki site

You can find more information on its wiki site.

Meetings

The Technical Committee has a schedule of meetings.

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1.4.2. Day-to-day coordination

DGs who are the owners of the respective sites are at the centre of this website development and maintenance process. They are assisted in their tasks of creation and maintenance by a number of other Commission services (DG COMM, DIGIT, OP, DG Translation, etc.)

Principal actors

Organisation Chart

DGs' principal actors

OPOCE" DIGIT DGT DG coordinator COMM

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1.4.2.1. EUROPA team (DG COMM)

The EUROPA team, which is responsible for the overall coordination of EUROPA (together with DIGIT, DGT, SG and OP), can provide you with any help or advice you may need regarding EUROPA.

You can contact the EUROPA team on the page all EUROPA support contact points.

The EUROPA team assists departments in planning, creating and managing sites on EUROPA.

It provides support and advice for online communication, including:

  • creation, design and maintenance of websites, blogs, forums
  • EUTube - a channel on youtube.com for EU video clips
  • management of the Flexible Platform for Internet Services - FPFIS
  • Corporate Web Content Management System tool and service
  • IPG, Information Architecture, Accessibility and Usability Trainings
  • Web consulting and advice
  • statistics on EUROPA development of Internet tools
  • management of access to EUROPA web tools and services
  • guidance on use of .eu domain name and allocation of web addresses
  • EC home page (in 24 languages) - news articles covering EU policy development, events, etc. and local news from EC Representations offices. Complementary sections: promotion of President's and Commissioners' activities, EU prizes and competitions
  • Web network of EC Representations offices
  • Promotion on EUROPA home page

 

For the creation of new sites, this includes the following:

  • discussing the design of the project and its incorporation in the EUROPA structure with the originating department and Internet editors
  • drawing the attention of the originating department to the IPG rules to be complied with
  • granting a web address or URL
  • giving the originating department advice and suggestions on page layout, usability and accessibility, technologies, interactivity, promotion of the site, etc.
  • if necessary, ensuring coordination with other departments with a stake in the project

 

 

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1.4.2.2. DG Coordinator

Each DG appoints a EUROPA coordinator and has one (or more) webmaster(s) responsible for the technical aspects of their web pages.

The role of the EUROPA coordinator is to:

  • coordinate all the websites managed by the DG and ensure consistency across them
  • closely follow developments regarding EUROPA and the rules for publishing on it, and keep the relevant colleagues in their DG informed
  • inform the EUROPA team (DG COMM) as soon as the DG plans any new or updated web pages on EUROPA, to check feasibility, compliance with existing rules and how the pages can be suitably integrated into EUROPA
  • check the quality of the sites produced by the DG before publication
  • act as the sole contact person in their DG for the EUROPA team (DG COMM)
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1.4.2.3. Directorate-General for Translation (DGT)

The Web editing and coordination unit is responsible for multilingual web issues.

Our team of web editors can give you web writing advice & editing, right from the start of the web content creation process, to ensure the original text sent for translation is fit for purpose (short, clear, usable, search engine-optimised, etc.).

Our web planning team coordinates web demand and can also advise you on scheduling & deadlines.

These guidelines on language coverage may help you decide in which language(s) you should publish your content.

How to request web editing or web translation

If you need to send a text for editing  (usually in Word format, since still at drafting stage ), create your request in Poetryrequester code WEB, product REV )

You can send your web page for translation in 2 ways:

Contact DGT Web planning for advice or COMM EUROPA MANAGEMENT to request access to this module.
Once you have submitted a request this way, you can track its progress via the Translation Dashboard .

  • via POETRY – for other WEB content in xml, html, Word, excel or zip format - (select requester code WEB, product TRA)

If you need translation of very short texts (max. 300 characters, incl spaces) within 48 hours, you can use the DGT translation hotline . Contact: dgt-hotline@ec.europa.eu.

Terminology & drafting resources

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1.4.2.4. DIGIT & Account Manager

DIGIT, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, has the responsibility to:

  • define the IT Strategy of the European Commission
  • provide the EC and whenever appropriate other European Institutions and bodies with high quality and advanced
  • IT infrastructure solutions and e-services
  • support services
  • telecommunications facilities
  • deliver information systems required to support EC corporate business processes within the framework of the e-Commission strategy
  • promote and facilitate, in full collaboration with European public administrations, the deployment of pan- European eGovernement services for citizens and enterprises

Account Manager

The point of contact for infrastructure services provided by Infrastructure Services Provision (DIGIT-C) at the Data Centre is the Account Manager (or Customer Relationship Manager or CRM) of your DG.

The Account Managers per DG are listed in this DIGIT's tableexcel8book.

 

More information: DIGIT Services - Information System Hosting

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1.4.2.5. Publications Office of the European Union (OP)

The Publications Office of the European Union (Publications Office or OP) is the publishing house of the European institutions, and is responsible for publishing and distributing printed and multimedia publications. It produces and distributes the Official Journal of the European Union and the General Report on Activities of the European Union. Other publications (printed and multimedia) are issued with the aim of furthering the development of the Union and its policies, and other publications are intended as information channels for the general public or specific professional circles.

Description

The Office is an interinstitutional body, and functions under the auspices of the European Commission. It is governed by a Management Committee, on which each institution is represented by its Secretary-General.

In order to bring information to the citizen, the Publications Office cooperates with the EU institutions, agencies and bodies to further enhance the transparency of the legislative process and of European policies and to facilitate access to European legislation and information published in the L (Legislation), C (Information and Notices) and S (Public procurement) series of the Official Journal and on the related EUR-Lex and TED websites. The citizen has access to European Publications through the EU Bookshop and contact information for EU Officials can be found via EU Whoiswho, the official directory of the European Union.

Relationship with the DGs

The Publications Office know–how is available to all who require help and advice with publications projects (electronic and paper). The OP works with framework contracts to produce publications together with external contractors (see IPG section on Subcontracting, Accessibility, Usability and Ergonomics). Directorates-General and institutions can submit a request for a publication which will be produced in-house or with the help of an external contractor. OP advises on technical specifications; helps plan, prepare and manage projects and ensure quality of the finished product; ensures conformity with the rules governing use of framework contracts and house style guides.

The Publications Office has a number of such contracts which can be used to carry out multimedia and print publications projects. See IPG section listing OP framework contracts. Also please refer to PubliCare (services offered by the Publications Office) and the Publications Office intranet for further information.

Relationship with DG COMM

The Publications Office maintains a representative at the Europa Forum, and has participated in the revision of the Information Providers Guide, offering expertise and keeping colleagues up to date on work of OP and ways in which OP and other DGs can collaborate.

DG COMM has made use of Publications Office framework contracts for carrying out various publications and IT projects.

Relationship with DIGIT

The Publications Office has permanent contact with DIGIT. DIGIT is hosting most of the website managed by the Publications Office (EUR-Lex, SIMAP, publications.europa.eu …).

Documentation

  • PubliCare (services offered by the Publications Office)

You will find the widest range of services offered by the Publications Office for the production and dissemination of the general publications of the European Union: assignment of identifiers, graphic design, proofreading, production, dissemination, fulfilment and storage.

Functional mailboxes

Title in "Address Book" 

E-mail address

Types of messages handled 

Publications Office products and activities

op-customer-support@publications.europa.eu

General questions on activities and products of the Publications Office

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1.4.3. Profiles / Roles

Depending on whether your site is interinstitutional, a portal, it is thematic, managed by an Editorial Board or by a single person, certain roles are identified in this section according to the functions that need to be performed in order to come up and maintain a informative, user-friendly and valuable website. 

Several functions-roles can be performed by one or more members of your team, depending on the available human resources and the site’s aim.

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1.4.3.1. Webmaster

Each DG appoints a EUROPA coordinator and has one (or more) webmaster(-s) responsible for the technical aspects of site management.

Description

The role of the webmaster is to:

  • Manage the websites run by the DG
  • Create HTML pages, in compliance with the IPG
  • Carry out systematic technical quality control before publishing each new or updated page
  • Provide technical advice within the DG on web issues (in particular compliance with the IPG)

Person who manages a website. Responsible for the HW/SW of the web server. Also publishes web content on the site if content providers do not have access rights.

Activities/Tasks

The tasks of the webmaster are to:

  • Ensure site development (HW, technology, etc.)
  • Administer the site’s web server
  • Ensure the security of the Internet/intranet servers
  • Verify the site’s integrity and consistency (broken links …)
  • Support accessibility and searches (load balancing, indexation …)
  • Improve the site’s audience statistics (search engines)
  • Check site statistics
  • Technical quality control before publishing each new or updated page
  • Advise the DG on web technology matters

Access requests for publishing on EUROPA staging and production server

Skills

Webmasters has to have following skills:

  • Knowledge of HTML, XML/XSL
  • Structure and organisation of the website
  • Operating systems (Windows NT, Unix, Linux)
  • Networks and Internet protocols
  • Plan and manage the back-end infrastructure of a website
  • Security systems (Firewalls, Encryption, access control, back-up systems …)
  • RDBMS, WWW Technology (ODBC/JDBC …)
  • Knowledge of administrative regulations IPG guide

EUROPA coordinators and webmasters

Each DG appoints a EUROPA coordinator and has one (or more) webmasters responsible for the technical aspects of site management.

The role of the EUROPA coordinator is to:

  • Coordinate all the websites managed by the DG and ensure consistency across them.
  • Closely follow developments regarding EUROPA and the rules for publishing on it and keep the relevant colleagues in their DG informed of this.
  • Inform the EUROPA team (DG COMM) as soon as the DG plans any new or updated web pages on EUROPA, to check feasibility, compliance with existing rules and how the pages can be suitably integrated into EUROPA.
  • Check the quality of the sites produced by the DG before publication.
  • Act as the sole contact person in their DG for the EUROPA team (DG COMM).

The role of the webmaster is to:

  • Manage the websites run by the DG
  • Create HTML pages, in compliance with the IPG
  • Carry out systematic technical quality control before publishing each new or updated page
  • Provide technical advice within the DG on web issues (in particular compliance with the IPG)

Each Directorate-General and department shall formally nominate the person(s) responsible for the website of the Directorate-General or department as its representative(s) to the EUROPA Forum.

Please, notify EUROPA Management of any changes to the list.

Meetings and training

EUROPA webmasters have regular meetings.

Training materials are available in the Training section.

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1.4.3.2. Internet Editor

The Internet editor provides and manages editorial content for the websites of line DG's and Representations, in particular for the citizen-oriented pages. He/she works closely with the webmaster.

He/she also assists DG COMM in implementing the Internet strategy throughout EUROPA.

Activities/Tasks

Skills

Internet editor needs:

  • a good knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of the Internet
  • good writing skills for the Internet (or at least editorial experience)
  • strategic understanding and communication background
  • good knowledge of the corporate rules for site construction as laid down in the IPG
  • a well-defined level of "authority" to take decisions on web-related matters.

 

Qualifications/Training

  • Internet basics
  • HTML, PDF conversion tools
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for end users

Meetings and workshops

EUROPA Internet editors have regular meetings and workshops.

 

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1.4.3.3. Content Provider

Most of the Commission’s staff could function as a content provider for a website and, therefore, it is very important for these content producers to have at heir disposal tools that are easy to learn and intuitive.

Activities/Tasks

  • Create/modify simple HTML page content
  • Convert documents to HTML format
  • Convert documents to PDF format

Skills

  • Use of text editors
  • Writing for the Web

Qualifications/Training

  • Internet basics
  • HTML, PDF conversion tools
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for end users
  • Writing for the Web (Syslog Formation)
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1.4.3.4. Works awarded to sub-contractors

The DGs and institutions can benefit from the know-how and experience of the sub-contractors from DIGIT, DG COMM or OP. These sub-contractors are specialised in producing websites and/or electronic or paper publications in accordance with the editorial, graphical and technical rules of the European Commission.

Description

When establishing a contract, make sure to indicate clearly the requirement for conformity with the IPG and with any other guide you want the contractor to respect. This will allow you to request all necessary corrections resulting from any non-conformity, without any possible claim from the contractor for additional payment.

EUROPA Team Quality Control Service

The EUROPA team provides support to the Webmasters in their task of ensuring that the quality of the existing or new site conforms to the defined standards and recommendations. The EUROPA team offers a quality control service to verify the quality of your site. Two types of analysis are carried out for this purpose: in-depth analysis and technical analysis.

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1.4.3.5. Web Manager

The website manager is responsible for the smooth functioning of the website.

  • give the goals of the Web site and a plan for achieving them
  • recruit, assign roles and responsibilities, co-ordinating the Web team members

Skills

  • A strong vision of the website’s goals
  • Knowledge of server technology and information architecture
  • Experience in co-ordinating the web team

Qualifications/Training

  • Managing a website and web team
  • Project management
  • Legal issues
  • Internet basics
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for webmasters
  • Documentum Corporate WCM workflows for webmasters
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1.4.3.6. Web Architect

A key position in the Web organization today is the Web architect, the visionary who bridges the Web content and technical domains, acting as a pivot point between the technical and the non technical members of the Web team.

Description

Should be thoroughly familiar with the organisation and purpose of the service, because he/she designs the structure and content of the Web, in conjunction with the Content Manager.

  • Identify the mission and focus of a website; determine who will be using the site, who is building it, key usability principles, technical constraints, and future needs.
  • Determine anticipated user paths, construct a structure and method of organisation; organise site content into categories and assist in creating an interface to support those categories.
  • Design the organisation, labelling, navigation, and indexing systems to support both browsing and searching to ensure that users can easily find the information they need.
  • Develop the metadata dimension from the business requirements together with the content manager.

Skills

 

Qualifications/Training

  • Website Design/Construction
  • Website management
  • Mark-up and scripting
  • Ergonomics, WAI, standards and guide IPG of the website
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for webmasters
  • Documentum Corporate WCM workflows for webmasters
  • XSL development with Documentum Corporate WCM

Tools

 

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1.4.3.7. Web Developer

Having had technical training, the web developer will have the technical ability to create web applications for the site.

The web developer participates in the construction of those websites that not only consist of static pages rather they contain transactional or personalised functions.

Activities

  • Programming  XSL, scripts, applets, Database applications

Skills

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Programming (HTML,XML, XSL, Java, JavaScript, Coldfusion, etc.)
  • Testing
  • Database Design, SQL- databases, retrieving and manipulating data

Qualifications/Training

  • HTML, XML/XSL and scripting
  • Analysis, design, programming and testing Java, JavaScript,  Coldfusion, etc.
  • Database design, SQL- databases, retrieving and manipulating data within a website
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for webmasters  
  • Documentum Corporate WCM workflows for webmasters
  • XSL development with Documentum Corporate WCM
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1.4.3.8. Web Designer

He / she will have had an artistic training, and will be responsible for all visual aspect of the site. The Web designer may also work with multimedia applications (video, audio, animation, etc).

The aim is to make the web site more alive, intuitive and enjoyable.

Activities/Tasks

  • Define the graphical layout of the Site and its “image”
  • Create/modify images, icons, logos and navigation buttons
  • Design the user interface
  • Create the page design, CSS design (templates) to define the presentation style of the site’s page
  • Create/modify multimedia for the site

Skills

  • Creativity
  • Graphical ability
  • Knowledge of ergonomics, WAI, standards and IPG guide of the website.

Qualifications/Training

  • Ergonomics, WAI, standards and IPG guide of the Web site
  • HTML and CSS
  • Web graphics
  • Multimedia
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for webmasters
  • XSL development with Documentum Corporate WCM
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1.4.3.9. Proofreader

Read transcript or proof type-setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or syntax errors.

Skills

  • Should master the languages used in the workplace
  • Knowledge of text editors

Qualifications/Training

  • Basic Internet skills
  • HTML, PDF conversion tools
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for end users
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1.4.3.10. Web Translator

The web translator tasks are:

  • Upstream linguistic advice (before drafting starts)
  • Editing and linguistic revision at all stages prior to finalisation of the original text
  • Initial feedback on the usability of the final web pages
  • Translation/localisation of finalised content
  • Ongoing maintenance support (updating)

Skills

Required skills are:

  • Native speaker editing and linguistic advice on web writing
  • Web translation

Qualifications/Training

  • Translation experience
  • Editing experience
  • Web writing/internet communication
  • Experience with the following tools:
    • WORD
    • TagEditor
    • Translators’ Workbench (TWB)
    • Euramis
    • Excel

 

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1.4.3.11. Website user

This is the person who views the content of the website. In the case of an Intranet, it would be limited to those people belonging to the organisation that owns the Intranet.

Description

As regards Internet, all people with access to Internet could read the content of those EC websites on the Internet, therefore we can group our Internet website users into two categories:

  • EC web users
  • External EC web users

Activities/Tasks

  • Browsing the Web

Skills

  • Basics Internet skills
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1.5. Communication Policy & Strategy

The 2004-2009 European Commission is the first European 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 European Commission’s Communication policy and strategy starts earlier with the documents, listed below (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.

European Commission (EC) is rationalising its presence on the web. The EC EUROPA webrationalising programme aims to improve the quality of our online information and services.

Read more about websites' rationalisationpdf(136 kB) and its detailed roadmappdf(13 kB).

Read the high-level note about websites' rationalisationpdf(39 kB) addressed in March 2013 to all DGs.

 

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-Generalpdf (23/11/2011), and announced in the note on the Implementation of the Commission's Visual Identity on the webpdf (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.

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December 2007: Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizens

Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizenspdf(338 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (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.

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November 2006: "e-Commission 2006-2010"

The Commission adopts a strategic frameworkpdf, 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.

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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 EUpdf.

20 July 2005: Action plan to improve communicating Europe by the Commission

The Commission adopted on 20 July 2005 an action planpdf Choose translations of the previous link  [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.

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25 July 2001: White Paper on European Governance

On 25 July 2001, the Commission adopted a White Paper on European Governancepdf.

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 EUROPApdf Choose translations of the previous link  [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)pdf Choose translations of the previous link ".

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.

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1.6. Legal requirements

Content published on Europa – whether online versions of official documents or content adapted to the Web – must meet certain legal requirements.

Things to do

  • Use the obligatory europa.eu or ec.europa.eu templates . These contain the general legal notice. After identifying what types of content will appear on the website, choose any specific legal notices/disclaimers that need to be inserted.
  • Think about who will manage requests from third parties to reproduce content/pages from your site. If there is no one available in your local team or DG, provide a mechanism to forward all such requests to COMM-COPYRIGHT@ec.europa.eu.
  • If you want to publish content that your Unit/DG has not produced itself, check its copyright status first. If the content was produced outside the European institutions, check that it is free of copyright before using it, otherwise acquire copyright clearance.
  • If linking to external sites, include a specific disclaimer for content not provided directly by EUROPA.

Reference documents

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1.6.1. Legal notices and copyright

Mandatory requirement

Appropriate disclaimers and notices must be inserted in precise terms and wherever relevant.  

 

View all IPG Rules

In general terms, all works such as publications or documents issued by the European Union institutions and bodies, irrespective of the medium, are subject to copyright, whether or not this is explicitly stated, except for works excluded from copyright protection by the relevant applicable law because they do not meet the legal requirements for protection or even if they do, they are subject to legal exceptions. The Internet increasing the potential audience of works displayed online and disseminated through the European Union’s official website ‘Europa’, it is essential to ensure the protection of the European Union's intellectual property rights.

In the same way, the rights of third-party literary or artistic works incorporated in EU websites and electronic documents shall be protected.

Therefore, appropriate disclaimers and notices must be inserted in precise terms and wherever relevant.

Copyright / Ownership

For literary (articles/studies/reports/etc. or excerpts thereof) or artistic (photos/graphs/drawings/etc.) works prepared by EU statutory personnel within the context of their work for the EU institutions or bodies, the copyright vests with the European Union, in accordance with Article 18 of the Staff Regulations of officials of the European Communitiespdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link :

  1. All rights in any writings or other work done by any official in the performance of his duties shall be the property of the Community to whose activities such writings or works relate. The Communities shall have the right to acquire compulsorily the copyright in such works.
  2. Any invention made by an official in the course of or in connection with the performance of his duties shall be the undisputed property of the Communities. The institution may, at its own expense and on behalf of the Communities, apply for and obtain patents therefore in all countries. Any invention relating to the work of the Communities made by an official during the year following the expiration of his term of duty shall, unless proved otherwise, be deemed to have been made in the course of or in connection with the performance of his duties. Where inventions are the subject of patents, the name of the inventor or inventors shall be stated. 
  3. The institution may in appropriate cases award a bonus, the amount of which shall be determined by the institution, to an official who is the author of a patented invention.

For contributions/articles/studies/reports/etc. prepared by external companies/contractors on commission for EU institutions or bodies, and subject to standard EU service/study contracts, the general terms and conditions stipulate that any results or rights, including copyright and other intellectual or industrial property rights obtained in performance of the contract, shall be owned exclusively by the European Union, except where copyright or any other right of ownership already exists prior to the entering into force of the contract. In this latter case,  the company/contractor shall specify the works subject to these pre-existing rights, which are included in the contribution/article/study/report/etc, and shall warrant that it is the owner of these rights or, as the case may be, that it has obtained permission from the copyright holder(s) or from its or their legal representatives to use the works. Furthermore, it shall communicate any terms and conditions linked to the rights it has been granted.

The use by an EU institution or body of contributions/articles/studies/reports/etc. submitted by third-party experts or groups of experts is subject to a ‘publication/translation rights agreement’.

The Commission has a reuse policy regarding its works that is implemented by Commission Decision of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documentspdf. According to Article 2(1), this Decision only applies to public documents produced by the Commission or by public and private entities on its behalf:

  • which have been published by the Commission or by the Publications Office on its behalf through publications, websites or dissemination tools; or
  • which have not been published for economic or other practical reasons, such as studies, reports and other data.

This means that this reuse policy does not apply to works created by other EU Institutions or bodies. This difference is reflected in the general copyright notice of EUROPA and in the specific copyright notice of the Commission which are different.

Whenever third-party literary (articles/studies/reports/etc. or excerpts thereof) or artistic (photos/graphs/drawings/etc.) work is included within an EU website or electronic document, whatever the medium, the institution or body shall be responsible for obtaining the author’s or, as the case may be, right-holder's permission in writing and shall pay any fees required for the rights granted and ensure that appropriate acknowledgement is given in the publication.

The so called 'royalty free' images or photos found on the Internet or purchased on CD-ROM are not public domain! They are copyright protected. Therefore it is essential to respect all terms of use specified.

For this purpose, an agreement setting out basic formal conditions shall be concluded between the DG or other originating department and the author/copyright holder of this material. Whereas the ownership remains with the author/copyright holder, a ‘Publication/translation rights agreement’ not only authorises the EU to use/publish/translate the material, but also authorises the EU to permit further use/reproduction/translation thereof. It also states, if relevant, that the author/copyright holder has obtained unfettered rights for the reuse in his work of materials on which copyright or any other right of ownership already exists. A duly signed original of such agreements shall be kept within the relevant files. For further information, please contact op-info-copyright@publications.europa.eu.

Moreover, when using third-party material, whether textual or artistic, appropriate acknowledgement must be given to the author/copyright holder thereof (for photos, for example, a concise caption can be inserted). An additional courtesy acknowledgement may be mentioned as follows: ‘Reproduced with kind permission of the author(s)’.

Should, however, an author/copyright holder or his/her legal representative object to any use of his/her textual or artistic works other than dissemination by the EU institutions or bodies within their publication, the originating department shall respect this condition by displaying a relevant notice.

The latter may be printed directly under the third-party copyright acknowledgement as follows: ‘Reproduction is not authorised’, or inserted at a suitably prominent place at the beginning of a publication, as shown below.

  • Reproduction of the texts of this [report/study/article/etc.] is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Reproduction of the artistic material contained therein is prohibited.
  • [Title of the material] (texts, drawings, photos, audio, video, etc.)
    © [name of copyright holder], [year of publication/creation]

For reproduction or use of this work, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holder.

In any case, the originating department is responsible for ensuring that no discrepancy may occur between the rights granted by the copyright holder and the copyright notice covering its publication.

For textual works, it is advisable to add to the copyright notice and qualification a disclaimer regarding responsibility, the form and wording of which is at the originating department’s discretion and adapted to the specific case, as shown in the following examples (for the EU).

  • Responsibility for the information and views set out in this [report/study/article/publication/etc.] lies entirely with the author(s).
  • The content of this [report/study/article/publication/etc.] does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the [...]/[therein] lies entirely with the author(s).
  • The information and views set out in this [report/study/article/publication/etc.] are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Links to external non-EU websites

Any EU institution or body wishing to create a link to a third-party website shall make prior enquiries about the terms and conditions set out on the website concerned, and it shall keep thereto. Furthermore, notifying the webmaster of a third-party website of the creation of a link from the EU ‘EUROPA’ website is considered a matter of ‘netiquette’ and legal caution.

Read more about links to external site.

Copyright issues of websites

For more in-depth information on copyright and other intellectual property rights, related to web sites, please consult the Intranet Copyright website.

For any additional information about Copyright and other Intellectual Property Rights please contact the helpdesk on Copyright in DG COMM at the address COMM-COPYRIGHT@ec.europa.eu.

Copyright issues of publications

For further questions regarding copyright issues related to publications, please contact the Publications Office at the address op-info-copyright@publications.europa.eu.

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1.6.1.1. Copyright notice

Mandatory requirement

It is a legal requirement to display the Copyright notice at the top of every page.  

 

View all IPG Rules

A general copyright notice is included in the "Legal notice" service which defines the limits of responsibility and draws attention to the copyright restrictions of EUROPA. It is a legal requirement to display it at the top of every page.

Copyright notice for European Commission websites

 

© European Union, 1995-2013

Reuse is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged. The reuse policy of the European Commission is implemented by a Decision of 12 December 2011pdf.

The general principle of reuse can be subject to conditions which may be specified in individual copyright notices. Therefore users are advised to refer to the copyright notices of the individual websites maintained under Europa and of the individual documents. Reuse is not applicable to documents subject to intellectual property rights of third parties.

 

Copyright notice for EUROPA Inter-institutional websites

 

© European Union, 1995-2013

Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged, save where otherwise stated.

Where prior permission must be obtained for the reproduction or use of textual and multimedia information (sound, images, software, etc.), such permission shall cancel the above-mentioned general permission and shall clearly indicate any restrictions on use.

 

 

 

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1.6.1.2. Notices/Disclaimers

Disclaimer on Publications

To be included by the author in publications:

  • © European Union, [year]

    Responsibility for the information and views set out in this [report/study/article/publication…] lies entirely with the authors).

    Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
  • © European Union, [year]

    The content of this [report/study/article/publication…] does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the [...] / [therein] lies entirely with the author(s).

    Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
  • © European Union, [year]

    The information and views set out in this [report/study/article/publication…] are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

    Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

Before displaying the wording ‘Reproduction is authorised …’, either of the following conditions must be set:

  • No third-party textual or artistic material is included in the publication without the copyright holder’s prior consent to further dissemination by other third parties.
  • An additional clearly positioned notice specifies that the reproduction of the third-party textual or artistic material included is prohibited.

Disclaimer on Google tools

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1.6.2. Cookies

A cookie is a small piece of data that a website asks your browser to store on your computer or mobile device. The cookie allows the website to "remember" your actions or preferences over time.

Most browsers support cookies, but users can set their browsers to decline them and can delete them whenever they like.

Description

Websites mainly use cookies to:

  • identify users
  • remember users' custom preferences
  • help users complete tasks without having to re‑enter information when browsing from one page to another or when visiting the site later.

Cookies can also be used for online behavioural target advertising and to show adverts relevant to something that the user searched for in the past.

How are they used?

The web server supplying the webpage can store a cookie on the user's computer or mobile device. An external web server that manages files included or referenced in the webpage is also able to store cookies. All these cookies are called http header cookies. Another way of storing cookies is through JavaScript code contained or referenced in that page.

Each time the user requests a new page, the web server can receive the values of the cookies it previously set and return the page with content relating to these values. Similarly, JavaScript code is able to read a cookie belonging to its domain and perform an action accordingly.

What are the different types of cookies?

A cookie can be classified by its lifespan and the domain to which it belongs. By lifespan, a cookie is either a:

  • session cookie which is erased when the user closes the browser or
  • persistent cookie which remains on the user's computer/device for a pre-defined period of time.

As for the domain to which it belongs, there are either:

  • first-party cookies which are set by the web server of the visited page and share the same domain
  • third-party cookies stored by a different domain to the visited page's domain. This can happen when the webpage references a file, such as JavaScript, located outside its domain.

EU legislation on cookies

EUROPA websites must follow the Commission's guidelines on privacy and data protection and inform users that cookies are not being used to gather information unnecessarily.

The ePrivacy directive – more specifically Article 5(3) – requires prior informed consent for storage ofor access to information stored on a user's terminal equipment. In other words, you must ask users if they agreeto most cookies and similar technologies (e.g. web beacons, Flash cookies, etc.) before the site starts to use them.

For consent to be valid, it must be informed, specific, freely givenand must constitute a real indication of the individual's wishes.

However, some cookies are exempt from this requirement. Consent is not required if the cookie is:

  • used for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication, and
  • strictly necessary in order for the provider of an information society service explicitly required by the user to provide that service.

Cookies clearly exempt from consent according to the  EU advisory body on data protection- WP29 pdf Choose translations of the previous link  include:

  • user‑input cookies (session-id) such as first‑party cookies to keep track of the user's input when filling online forms, shopping carts, etc., for the duration of a session or persistent cookies limited to a few hours in some cases
  • authentication cookies, to identify the user once he has logged in, for the duration of a session
  • user‑centric security cookies, used to detect authentication abuses, for a limited persistent duration
  • multimedia content player cookies, used to store technical data to play back video or audio content, for the duration of a session
  • load‑balancing cookies, for the duration of session
  • user‑interface customisation cookies such as language or font preferences, for the duration of a session (or slightly longer)
  • third‑party social plug‑in content‑sharing cookies, for logged‑in members of a social network.

Use on EUROPA

The use of cookies on EUROPA is allowed under certain conditions. You should take the following steps.

  1. Ask yourself whether the use of cookies is essential for a given functionality, and if there is no other, non‑intrusive alternative.
  2. If you think a cookie is essential, ask yourself how intrusive it is: what data does each cookie hold? Is it linked to other information held about the user? Is its lifespan appropriate to its purpose? What type of cookie is it? Is it a first or a third‑party setting the cookie? Who controls the data?
  3. Evaluate for each cookie if informed consent is required or not:
    • first‑party session cookies DO NOT require informed consent.
    • first‑party persistent cookies DO require informed consent. Use only when strictly necessary. The expiry period must not exceed one year.
    • all third‑party session and persistent cookies require informed consent. These cookies should not be used on EUROPA sites, as the data collected may be transferred beyond the EU's legal jurisdiction.
  4. Before storing cookies, gain consent from the users (if required) by implementing the Cookie Consent Kit in all the pages of any website using cookies that require informed consent.
  5. Inform usersabout the use of cookies in plain, jargon‑free language in a dedicated "cookie notice" page linked from the service toolbar of the standard templates. This page should explain:
    • why cookies are being used, (to remember users' actions, identify users, collect traffic information, etc.)
    • if the cookies are essential for the website or a given functionality to work or if they aim to enhance the performance of the website
    • the types of cookies used (e.g. session or permanent, first or third‑party)
    • who controls/accesses the cookie‑related information (website or third‑party)
    • that the cookie will not be used for any purpose other than the one stated
    • how users can withdraw consent.

A standard template to create your own cookie notice pagezip(236 kB) is available. If a site does not use any cookies, the dedicated "cookie notice" page should use the template and just mention this. If your site uses the same cookies as the Commission homepage, you can link to the top level cookie notice. 

Cookie Consent Kit

The cookie consent solution is a JavaScript‑based kit that, after some site‑specific configuration, will automatically add a header banner to the page. This header banner will disappear once the user has accepted or refused the cookies used on the site.

This solution provides the following functionalities:

  • JavaScript to automatically display the header banner in 24 languages
  • a wizard to declare your cookies and the link to your cookies notice page
  • a JavaScript API with methods and functions that help to prevent prior storage of cookies
  • a corporate‑consent cookie to remember the choice of the user across websites
  • a template for the cookie notice page.

This is a central service: you have to include the JavaScript file on your website and add a one‑site‑specific configuration file listing the cookies you are using. You will also have to add a short HTML parameter to every element in your site that sets a cookie.

Read the full documentation to implement the Cookie Consent Kit

Download the template to create your own cookie notice pagezip(236 kB).

Example

  1. The cookie header banner displayed on all pages of a site using cookies that require informed consent.
  2. A link to the specific cookie notice page is also available.
  3. This element of the page will only display its content once the user chooses to accept the site's cookies.

 Cookie consent example

Guidelines and References

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1.6.3. Data protection

As any other European Institution, the European Commission is subject to specific legal obligations concerning the protection of personal data and their processing. These obligations are described in Regulation (EC) No 45/2001pdf [120 KB] of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.

For all the Institutions, the European Data Protection Supervisor acts as an independent supervisory authority (see art. 41 to 45 of the Regulation).

Each institution or body appoints at least one person as Data Protection Officer.

For more details please consult:

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1.6.5. Use of third-party tools and services

Mandatory requirement

Third party services are not allowed on EUROPA. Webmasters must use in-house solutions and not third party tools.

 

View all IPG Rules

Third-party tools and services carry considerable continuity, accuracy and privacy risks and their use on EUROPA websites is therefore not allowed. Webmasters must use in-house solutions.

Description

Many companies offer "free" tools, services, plug-ins or widgets that provide extra features and functionalities on websites. Use of these tools generally requires registration on the site and acceptance of the companies' terms of use. Examples include Google analytics or Statscounter to analyse site traffic; Bing maps for geographical information; AddThis to share or bookmark; YouTube for videos; Facebook social plug-ins an extension of Facebook in other site; Twitter plug-ins, etc.

These tools can be used or embedded on any website via JavaScript or API, while the tool remains hosted on the servers of the company. The website including the third-party tool will contact and connect to the company's servers anytime a page is viewed by a user. 

Using these tools embedded on EUROPA sites is not without risk. Several European countries and the US have removed third-party tools from their sites for fear of breaching their user privacy obligations following complaints by web users. For example, the German Data Protection Institution has declared it does not authorize the use of Google Analytics on public websites.

Use on EUROPA websites

  • Third party services are not allowed on EUROPA. Webmasters must use in-house solutions and not third party tools. The Commission has set up a range of in-house solutions which provide the same or often better service than some of these "free" tools. These services are tested to comply with security and legal requirements of the institutions. They also come with the full support and back-up of the EUROPA Team and DIGIT. 
  • Insert a link to your social media pages instead of embedding the plug-ins on your site. 
  • All videos posted on EUTube are available on the Audiovisual service. Embed or link to them instead.
  • Use of social media in EU communication 

In case a EUROPA website wishes to use third party services, it should concern a justified business need, which cannot be fulfilled by in-house solutions. In that case, a risk assessment should be made, considering the requirements of Regulation (EC) 45/2001,  Decision C(2006)3602 and Directive 2009/136/EC. This risk assessment should cover at least the 7 risk areas mentioned below and should include a consultation of the DPO and HR.DS.

If the aforementioned actions have lead to a positive outcome, the owner of the EUROPA website must comply with the ePrivacy Directive, implement the cookie consent kit and clearly inform the users via a specific disclaimer that a third party is collecting data on them and that they are no longer covered by the standard EUROPA privacy statement on data protection.

Risks

The risks of using third party tools are based on the following critical issues:

Privacy and data protection

The European Union is committed to user privacy in conformity with Regulation 45/2001. As far as the Commission is concerned, its Personal Data Protection legal notice based on Regulation (EC) 45/2001pdf Choose translations of the previous link  guarantees that on EUROPA sites the users are always informed when their private data is collected and how this data is handled.

Moreover, the ePrivacy directive (Directive 2009/136/EC) and specifically Article 5(3) requires prior user informed consent for storage or access to information stored on a user's device.

EUROPA sites permit the use of first party session cookies and in cases when first party permanent cookies are used the Internet user is duly notified. On the contrary, third-party products often use permanent cookies, log files, web beacons and other tracking tools to monitor and analyse user behaviour.

In that case, the data will be transferred outside the EU, which is subject to a series of conditions and restrictions: the Commission is generally not in a position to check that such conditions are met by the third party service provider.

Business continuity is not guaranteed

The third-party tools are not maintained by the EUROPA team and the European Commission does not have any influence over them. That means there is a risk that the product could be discontinued at any time without prior notice. In case of malfunction or error in the service,

Legal uncertainty

The terms of use of third-party tools may be changed without notice. A service that was once free may suddenly bring about legal or financial obligations for the institutions. The company that developed the tool may be sold to a competitor that could have different intentions for the use of the collected data. The privacy policy of the service provider may vary.

It should be also noted that by accepting the terms of use of the third-party service, EUROPA webmasters participate in a legal act in the name of the institution for which he or she may not have any authorisation.

Dependency on third party

External tools are essentially black boxes. Webmasters do not have control over them and the development team of DIGIT is unable to assist with any development or troubleshooting.

Limited accuracy assurance, dubious data comparability

Providers could change or adjust the collected data without notice. Moreover, various companies offering third party tools use differing data collection methods. Therefore, websites cannot be compared to each other. Their results can vary depending on the tool used thus being useless for reporting. On the contrary, EUROPA analytics uses the same collection method for all sites and allows comparability between them.

Internet security risks

In the past, the settings of a third-party service integrated on a Commission website were changed to redirect users to a pornographic website. On another occasion, users were asked to install virus infested software under heading of the European Union. Recently, Twitter was spreading a worm without the account owner's knowledge. This is an obvious public relation risk. 

Endorsement

The use of a third-party service on EUROPA sites serves as implicit endorsement or approval by the European institutions. This would constitute a breach of competition rules as no tender has been launched nor there exists any contractual relationship. This can also result in the Commission being held liable for any harm suffered by the Internet user.

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1.7. EC EUROPA Digital transformation

Transforming our digital presence

Digital communications have exploded in the past decade. People are becoming more connected and more demanding online and our organisation should make the most of these developments. To keep pace with these changes, a major cross-Commission programme of digital transformation is underway to help us rationalise, redefine and redesign how we communicate online.

The aim of the programme (formerly known as EC EUROPA web rationalisation programme), run by DGs Communication, DG Translation and DIGIT, is to:

  • help people find the information they are looking for quickly and easily,
  • make the European Commission's online communication more coherent,
  • make it easier for people to understand what the European Commission does,
  • save money with better online communications by reducing the number of (more costly) emails/phone calls. 

Read high-level web rationalisation notes of March 2012 and 2013 on page on Communication Policy and Strategy.

The mandate

The project team is supported by a director-level working group set up by Catherine Day and chaired by the Director-General of DG COMM. At their first meeting the directors adopted a series of principles of online communication, the first of which is to focus on user needs when we communicate online.

 

Digital transformation programme vision   

"We believe that digital communication channels can bring the EU closer to people and enable the Commission to play its role more effectively. A strong digital presence will help us be more relevant, coherent and transparent while giving the institution a more human face. We believe that our decentralised organisation can best achieve this with a central, cross-DG multi-disciplinary team that:

  • aligns organisational goals with user needs and tasks
  • sees digital as a crucial part of overall communication strategies
  • takes decisions based on facts not opinions
  • sees technology as an enabler
  • favours collaboration and co-creation with all stakeholders
  • works in a strategic partnership with the DGs
  • focuses on cost-efficiency and economies of scale
  • strives for permanent improvement of skills and the way we do our work"

Organisation-wide programme

Digital transformation is an ambitious programme that must involve all Directorates-General. It is a challenge that will call on us all to reach out from our silos and work together across units and DGs. In particular, all communication units, webmasters and internet editors have a vital role to play in.

 Where to start

  • Update the inventory of the sites run by your DG. This will give you a good overview of the content on your site.  Don't forget to include sites hosted outside the European Commission domain (ec.europa.eu) – you might need to get this information from your DG's policy units.
  • Cut the 'dead branches': look at sites or content which have not been updated recently. There might be some sites you can close down straight away (like the site for an event or campaign that took place 3 years ago).
  • Clean up your website(s): delete/archive old pages, integrate sites which have been developed outside of the europa.eu domain and improve the quality of your DG's online publishing.
  • Investigate who your users are: start with gathering analytics and search data. Then extend your information gathering with contacts from marketing events, forums, press events etc. Focus on all the points where you are in contact with your audience, and get to know them better.
  • Improve your content by making it more user-centric and searchable.
  • Make the people in your DG aware of this programme (the central team in DG COMM can also come and present the programme to your DG).

 Don't hesitate to contact us at: EC-DIGITAL-TRANSFORMATION@ec.europa.eu

 

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1.7.4. Principles of online communication

The European Commission has decided to rationalise and modernise its overall web presence. Getting there from where we are now means radically changing how we think about online communication and how we work together. The principles offered below are designed to help us do that.

(The principles were adopted by the web rationalisation working group on 3 July 2013.)

1. Users first

We start by understanding who our users are and which of their needs we can serve.

We base decisions about content and design on evidence and data about actual users and their most common interaction with our content – not on our assumptions. This means frequent and regular user surveys and testing.

 

2. Joined-up digital services

Clear content helps people ’self serve’, thereby reducing user inquiries through more costly channels (helplines, emails etc.).

 

3. Content over technology

What’s important is the substance of our content. Our content must be:

  • relevant, accurate and usable. Users are looking for topic- or task-related information that helps them answer their questions.
  • clearly worded – using our users’ words, so they can both understand it and find it through a search engine. This is also important for our image – as a professional, efficient organisation that is engaging with real public concerns.

 

4. Less is more (and cheaper)

Rationalising and consolidating our digital content helps us focus on key content with real value to our users. A smaller volume is easier to manage – and deliver in multiple languages (where necessary).

 

5. Be consistent

Our users cannot be expected to make any distinction between our Directorate-Generals (DG)s and agencies. To most of them, we are ‘the EU’. As things now stand, a journey to the information a user needs can take them across several sites, each with different look and feel. Adhering to good-quality common components, templates and forms makes life easier for users – and cheaper and easier for us in the long run.

 

6. Joined-up digital services

Our content must get to the user in the right form – European Commission website, social media, etc. – and adapted for PC, smartphone, etc. – in the most resource-efficient way. It must fit all formats (without rewriting). This will save resources and avoid confusing users.

 

7. Be open

Genuine transparency means providing easy access to useful information that users can reuse and develop into new services and products for public use. Easier access to our information will help our stakeholders (whoever they may be) to engage with us, at the same time keeping the organisation open, relevant and in touch.

 

8. Manage content

Our content must be kept constantly updated in response to user feedback, and deleted or archived at the end of its useful life. We must look closely at how we plan, deliver and manage content.

 

9. Keep learning

Invest in acquiring (and helping colleagues to acquire) the right skills, training and coaching to make the most of digital communication. We should look at how digital can help us work better internally, helping us work better across teams and DGs.

 

10. Collaborate & co-create

All the above means avoiding duplication of effort and making optimal use of scarce resources by:

  • proactively working with other DGs that have related or overlapping content and work together for a better user-experience
  • looking beyond our organisation to improve our performance (how do others do it?)
  • actively participating (asking for and offering help, expertise, input) in the growing community of digital/web practitioners working on EU websites, including partners in the other EU institutions.

 

 

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