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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 domain and tells you how the different sites in this domain are managed.


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
  • Contact IPG team should you have any questions about the guide.

1.1. What is EUROPA?

EUROPA is the European Union's Web portal accessible via the address 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 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.


1.2. Website organisation

The name EUROPA refers to the top level institution-independent site However, the term EUROPA is also often used to refer to all sites managed by the Commission. The Inventory of EUROPA websites offers a comprehensive list with detailed information for each website.

The sites of all EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission, Council, etc.) are part of the EUROPA family and can be accessed through the interinstitutional website. All institutions have the URL -, for example

Sites managed by the Commission have to comply with the guidelines and standards set out in the IPG. Sites managed by the other institutions do not have to comply with IPG standards and guidelines (see diagram).


Structure of



The interinstitutional "" 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.


The top level pages are run by DG Communication on behalf of the EU institutions.

The Interinstitutional Editorial Committee coordinates the development of the institutions’ websites.

Interinstitutional sites

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

Examples of these kind of sites include:

  • EU newsroom, gathering news from EU institutions.
  • Europe Direct for citizens looking for advice or help in their neighbourhood, or for a local forum promoting dialogue and awareness about EU policies.

1.2.2. - Commission sites

The Commission site provides information from 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 programme, 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.


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 Commissioner sites, DG sites and the sites of the Representations).

The Commission pages are easily recognisable by their banner/template. Examples of Commission templates can be seen at the following sites: EuropeAid, Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.


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 with the following syntax: (ec.) All parts of a URL must contain English text only and must be written in lower case.


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(126 kB) Choose translations of the previous link , the web pages of the European institutions are using a common second level domain 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 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(34 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 domain.

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

Executive agencies of the Commission can have their own fourth level domain name within the third level domain

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 or domain.

Allocation of site names within the or 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 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 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 their promotion

Websites must use the following syntax: (ec.)

All parts of a URL must contain English text only.

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.) 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.

If you 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.


1.4. EUROPA management

The sites in the 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 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.



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 (, it is the Interinstitutional Editorial Committee for Internet (CEiii) that ensures the coordination.

The governance structure for managing sites within the Commission's domain ( is defined in its Internet strategy paper "Communicating about Europe via the Internet - Engaging the citizenspdf(346 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


Top 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.


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



Top 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.


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.


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)


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 

Top EUROPA Forum

In accordance to the Communication Towards the e-Commission: Europa 2nd generationpdf(98 kB) 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(346 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.


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.

Organisational details

All informations regarding the organisation of the network are published on the intranet of the European Commission.

Top EUROPA editor

In accordance with the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf(346 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.


  • 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.

Top Editorial Committee EUROPA

In accordance with the Internet Strategy Communication Communicating about Europe via the Internetpdf(346 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.


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.


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

Top 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 Communication 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.

The EUROPA Forum and Internet editors meetings are organised together since 2013.

Organisational details

All informations regarding the organisation of the network are published on the intranet of the European Commission.

Top 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.


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.


The Technical Committee has a schedule of meetings.


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



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 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



Top 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)
Top 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 Excel sheetexcel8book.


More information at DIGIT Service Catalogue : Information Systems Hosting

Top 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.


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, …).


  • 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

General questions on activities and products of the Publications Office


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.

Top Webmaster

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


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.


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


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.

Top 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.




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.



  • 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.


Top 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.


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


  • Use of text editors
  • Writing for the Web


  • Internet basics
  • HTML, PDF conversion tools
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for end users
  • Writing for the Web (Syslog Formation)
Top 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.


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.

Top 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


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


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


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.




  • 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



Top 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.


  • Programming  XSL, scripts, applets, Database applications


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


  • 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
Top 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.


  • 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


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


  • 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
Top Proofreader

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


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


  • Basic Internet skills
  • HTML, PDF conversion tools
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Documentum Corporate WCM for end users
Top 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)


Required skills are:

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


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


Top 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.


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


  • Browsing the Web


  • Basics Internet skills

1.5. 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 or 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
  • 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


1.5.1. 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 Communities:

  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

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 Intellectual Property website.

For additional information and legal advice about copyright and other intellectual property rights, please contact your DG's IPR-correspondent for first level support, and where necessary the EC's Central IP-Service at

Copyright issues of publications

For further questions regarding copyright issues related to publications, please contact the Publications Office at the address

Top 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.




Top 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


1.5.2. 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.


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 or for access to information stored on a user's terminal equipment. In other words, you must ask users if they agree to 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 given and 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.


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 users about 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(241 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(241 kB).


  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


1.5.3. 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:


1.5.5. 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.


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.


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. 


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.


1.6. EC Digital transformation

We are restructuring pages on Digital transformation.

There could be some problems at times. Thank you for understanding.

Transforming our digital presence - the mandate

Introduction to digital transformation mpeg-4v(10 MB) (7mins video)

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 DG 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.

The project team is supported by a director-level working group set up by Catherine Day at the beginning of 2013 and chaired by 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.

The digital transformation/web rationalisation programme has been framed by notes addressed in March 2012 and 2013 to all Directors-General.

Stay in touch. Follow the digital transformation programme on the blog, EU Digital, and on Twitter @EUDigitalBlog.


Please note: the rules set out in the Information Providers Guide (IPG) apply to the Commission's current legacy web presence. The Commission's new web presence will gradually be accompanied by a revised IPG which will then apply to all web assets hosted on the "Next EUROPA" platform.

The 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 involves all Directorates-General. We need to work across organisational silos as teams to make the programme a success. This is fully in line with the guidelines and new working methods defined by President Juncker. Communication units, webmasters and internet editors will have a vital role to play in this context.

What you (as a DG webmaster) can do

  • 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 ( – you might need to get this information from your DG's policy units.
  • Freeze the creation of new websites. An "effective online presence" does not automatically translate into a new website. Think of your objectives and the needs of your target audiences first.
  • 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 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:


Roadmap for Digital transformation


1.6.1. Top user tasks EC

What is a task?
A task is what people come to do on our website.
A task could be transactional, eg applying for a research grant but it doesn' t have to be about transactions. Finding details on a new legislative proposal on public health is also a task. Finding people (eg contacting a Commissioner), looking for information about recruiting staff abroad is also a task.

A major survey of the Commission's online presence was carried out in May and June 2014. The goal of the survey was to find out the main reasons why people want to interact with our organisation.

Identifying potential user tasks 


The digital transformation team assembled a comprehensive longlist of potential tasks from a wide range of sources, including:

  • an analysis of the Commission's corporate philosophy, vision and strategy statements
  • interviews with the communications and web teams of the DGs
  • analysis of the top levels of the Commission's existing websites
  • top 100 search terms over 1 year (google trends & google adwords)
  • top 100 most visited web pages on the Commission's website
  • peer websites (homepages)
  • relevant media
  • user research & feedback, including calls and emails to Europe Direct call centre

We then worked intensively to reduce this list to manageable proportions (from around 1700 tasks to 136), by removing duplicates and overlaps and merge main and subtasks.

This process was presented to the DGs at a meeting on 20 February 2014, to prepare for the next phase – getting from the longlist to the shortlist. Around 20 workshops were held with the DGs which resulted in a final list of 77 tasks.

The shortlist was signed off at a plenary meeting to which all DGs were invited on 27 March 2014. 

Full details on the top task identification process


Top task approach


Presentations used in workshops with DGs

24 April 2014 Polling instructions and next steps for DGs Presentationppt8(4 MB)
27 March 2014 Collective sign-off of the tasks for translation/polling Presentationppt8(3 MB)
20 February 2014 Top tasks identification process - kick-off Presentationppt8(11 MB)



Top task polling and results


Polling: How did we organise the survey?

Once we had the shortlist of potential tasks, it was time to get people worldwide to choose their favorites. The DGs were closely involved in identifying the key audiences. Their help was also vital in getting enough users to respond to the poll. The poll was launched in 24 languages on 12th May 2014 for 3 weeks. Following this a similar poll was launched internally for Commission staff.

Results of EC-wide top task user survey

Over 100,000 people replied to the survey (in 24 languages) with 40,000 people volunteering to help with future tests and research. All DGs were involved in a series of workshops to help prepare the survey questions. We also surveyed Commission staff to see what they considered to be the most important tasks for our audiences.

So what are the main reasons why people want to interact with us?

Six areas stood out as being the most important for the respondents, irrespective of where they work and where they live:

  1. EU law, rules, treaties, judgments
  2. Research and innovation
  3. Funding, grants and subsidies  
  4. Education and training in EU
  5. EU strategy, political priorities
  6. Environmental protection.


Full details about EC-wide top task survey results

Summary of the presentation (total length  31mins):

    • 00:00 - 01:32 Background to poll and what will be covered in the presentation
    • 01:34 - 05:04 What were the results from the staff survey?
    • 05:06 - 17:39 External poll – what are the top tasks of our users?
    • 17:40 - 21:14 User satisfaction – what do users like/dislike about our web presence?
    • 21:15 - 25:57 More detail on survey results, consistency across user groups
    • 25:57 - 31:31 Key findings for the organisation, next steps - working together across silos

1.6.2. Top level architecture EC

In line with our approach of following the evidence and involving our stakeholders (both the DGs and the people using our websites), we used the following process to create the top-level classification:

  • develop a hypothetical classification (using a "card sort" to get insights into the ways in which our audiences structure and group information).
  • test the hypothesis (using a "treejack" test to gather evidence on where people would look to find specific information)
  • refine the hypothesis (2-3 times) until our testers achieve an 80-90% success rate.

Between September 2014 and February 2015, we carried out 6 test iterations, with people representative of our typical audience profiles (as evidenced by the top-task poll). A total of over 6000 test volunteers were invited to take part.
Each test iteration was followed by a collective review meeting with colleagues from the DGs (a total of 5 plenary meetings) where we presented the results and our analysis and took decisions before proceeding.
We achieved success after 4 iterations.

Full details on building the top level information architecture for the EC


Presentations used in workshops with DG stakeholders

12 February 2015 Agreement on level 1 of the common architecture Presentationpdf(6 MB)
13 January 2015 Presenting results of the treejack test and agreeing hypothesis #3 for testing Presentationpdf(9 MB)
4 December 2014 Presenting results of the treejack test and agreeing hypothesis #2 for testing Presentationpdf(5 MB)
14 October 2014 Common architecture building, preparing hypothesis #1 for treejack testing Presentationpdf(2 MB)
9 September 2014 Common architecture building kick-off & workshop, preparing for online card sort Presentationppt8(3 MB)




1.6.3. Classes

Building classes

Step 1: DEVELOP a hypothesis for level 1
  • Using online ‘card sorting’
Step 2: TEST the hypothesis for level 1
  • Using ‘treejack’ testing
Then repeat the process for level 2


The classes are presented below in order of their ranking, which is based on the sum of votes received by
all tasks in the class.

Follow the link if you want to know more about the work on particular class.


Total % of votes

Business, Economy, Euro

Live, Work, Travel in EU 14.4%
Law 12.9%
About the EU 10.0%
Funding, Tenders 7.4%
News, Publications, Events 6.0%

Energy, Climate change, Environment

Research and Innovation 5.3%
Strategy 5.3%
Education 5.2%

Aid, Fundamental rights

Jobs at the European Commission 3.2%
Statistics 2.1%
Food, Farming 1.8%

EU Regional and Urban Development

Grand Total 100.0%


Working group

Programme update for senior management:
7 November 2014 Progress report, resources estimate for DGs, sub-project phases Presentationpdf(2 MB)
Guidelines for using machine translation on Commission websites Meeting documentpdf(189 kB)
11 July 2014 Progress report, presentation of top-task exercise and prototype of new Commission web presence Meeting minutespdf(203 kB) Presentationpdf
28 March 2014 Progress report, strategic decision to start the content transition process Meeting minutespdf Presentationpdf
Language coverage on Commission websites Meeting documentpdf
23 October 2013 Strategic decision to start Meeting minutespdf


1.6.4. Audiences per task


top task

medium task

small task

tiny task




Audiences profile data


EU law, rules, treaties, judgments

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Research and innovation

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Funding, grants, subsidies

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Education and training in EU

Reportpdf(2 MB)


EU strategy, political priorities

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Environmental protection

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Jobs, traineeships at the European Commission

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Find a job in another EU country

Reportpdf(2 MB)


EU news, announcements, press releases

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Human rights, fundamental rights

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Working in an EU country (rights, permits, benefits)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Order, download an EU publication

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Track policy and law making process, updates

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Statistics and forecasts

Reportpdf(2 MB)


About the European Union (role, structure, how it works, origin)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Food and farming (production and safety)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Climate change, global warming

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Regional, rural and urban development

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Freedom of information (transparency, access to documents)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


About the European Commission (role, structure, how it works)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Product safety, conformity, certification

Reportpdf(2 MB)


National implementation of EU law, infringements

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Public health, disease prevention

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Culture (heritage, arts, films, Capitals of Culture)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Doing business in the EU

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Economic growth, financial stability in EU (crisis, assistance to member states)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Doing business with the European Commission (calls for tenders, bids)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Conferences, summits, meetings, events

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Industry norms and standards

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Employing people (recruitment, terms and conditions, redundancies)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Recognition of educational, professional qualifications

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Energy efficiency

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Travel within, to and from EU (documents, visa, consular help, currencies)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Moving to another EU country (residence formalities)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Banking and financial markets (reform, regulation)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Relations with non-EU countries, int. org. (diplomacy, cooperation agreements)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Languages in the EU (diversity, translation, interpreting)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Competition (state aid, cartels, mergers, anti-trust)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Development and humanitarian aid

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Healthcare in another EU country

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Contact European Commission, European Union

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Trade with non-EU countries (import, export, agreements, anti-dumping)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Loans, access to finance, microfinance

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Initiate, contribute to law making (public consultations, citizen's initiative)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Public procurement (contracts with public authorities, governments)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Euro (coins, notes, eurozone, Economic and Monetary Union)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, patents

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Customs, tariffs, quotas, duties

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Privacy, data protection

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Consumer and passenger rights

Reportpdf(2 MB)


EU labels (eco labels, quality labels, audits)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Immigration into the EU (asylum, reuniting family, integration)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


EU budget

Reportpdf(2 MB)


EU vocabulary and abbreviations

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Voting in the EU

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Crime, fraud, corruption, human trafficking

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Security, defence (terrorism, sanctions, critical infrastructure)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Chemicals (approval)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Volunteering opportunities

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Corporate social responsibility for business

Reportpdf(2 MB)



Reportpdf(2 MB)


Taxation, excise (not VAT)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Accession of new countries to the EU, enlargement

Reportpdf(2 MB)


VAT (Value Added Tax)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Judicial cooperation between EU countries, recognition of judgments

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Pensions, retirement in another EU country

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Transport safety (air, road, banned airlines)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Complaints to the European Commission

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Resource security (oil, gas, raw materials)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Family (marriage, divorce, partnerships, adoption)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Emergencies, disasters, civil protection

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Visit EU institutions, guided tours

Reportpdf(2 MB)


European Commissioner profiles

Report pdf(2 MB)


Goods allowed when crossing borders (alcohol, cigarettes, cash, pets)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


Driving licence validity in EU countries

Report pdf(2 MB)


Vehicles (buying, selling, registration, taxes, insurance)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


President of the Commission (profile, agenda)

Reportpdf(2 MB)


1.6.5. Governance

The way European Commission colleagues work together to produce and maintain the institution's web presence is changing. For instance content supporting the same user needs will be produced jointly by several departments, as opposed to today's situation where it is not uncommon to find several EC sites containing very similar content.

The draft web governance document proposes the way content will be produced and maintained in the new EC web presence, using the structure of 15 content classes identified.

It takes stock of the current practice for cross-DG web publication (e.g. the Horizon 2020 and Your Europe websites), and was developed through a series of workshops with 12 EC departments.