August 30, 2010
This article on the expected ‘communication revolution’ is a scoop . But the source is one senior individual at the Commission, and some issues are not new. Which is why a debate is necessary: it takes place within the EU institutions, and could also leak into the open. Including here?
Here are some questions, on which you, dear reader, may reflect:
– is there a natural ‘swing of the pendulum’ between centralisation and decentralisation?
– star-treatment of the President seems to be a necessary PR trend. Does it necessarily follow that most communication should be centralised? On the contrary?
– most EU communication budgets are with ‘sectoral’ DGs, either at their communication units, or within various projects. They address not general EU matters, but crucial information and debates for national sectoral stakeholders. How to sustain their motivation and wish to coordinate while not overly centralising?
– are the heads of representation as limited as the article’s source seems to indicate, or do they miss resources?
– the Brussels press corps is shrinking, and national media attention to Europe decreasing. There are probably more PR and press attachés than journalists in this sector… Some people try to do something (see also Cavada below). Shouldn’t the EU institutions do more about media economics?
– what is the risk of going back to old DG X days, with information and then PR, as opposed to communication on the one hand, and ‘porte parole’ press relations on the other?
– given long Commission procedures for appointments and then new projects, how long does the revolution take until it has an impact?
My own personal wish is that a ‘revolution’ does not slow down communication initiatives under way, as it did when M. Wallström arrived, as the first Commissioner for communication. Despite the strong ‘wake up calls’ of negative referenda and poor election turn out, and the limitations of the ‘EU public sphere’ approach.
Now it’s your turn….
Next steps suggested?
Some experts reading this article, or this post, will have strong views on this – or factual elements. They can chose to react below in their name (always the best), or using a pseudonyme (this does not contradict Blogactiv’s guidelines). Or they can reach me by phone or email. While I didn’t draft the article in question, I always welcome feed-back and strictly respect such sources.
What’s my own credibility on all this?
- Having set-up EurActiv, now in 11 countries
- Having written the Yellow Paper on EU communication: “Decentralise radically: Empower the multipliers”.
- And having met a number of EU communication experts, including for example:
Margot Wallstrom as we handed over the Yellow Paper in 2006
Margot Wallstrom upon her exit