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					                   Annual General Meeting Info Points Europe 2002 – Annotated Agenda Workshops




     7TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE INFO-POINTS EUROPE NETWORK
                    Trieste (IT), 24 - 27 October 2002
                                                     ***

           “The New Communication Strategy for the European Union -
                   A Challenge for the Information Relays “
                                                     ***

                   - ANNOTATED AGENDA FOR THE WORKSHOPS -

Reference document: “Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European
Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on an
Information and Communication Strategy for the European Union” COM (2002) 350 final of
2nd July 2002

Workshops on the new communication policy (Friday 25.10.2002, 10.00 to 12.30 h)

1.     Internal organisation Role and tasks of: DG Press and Communication – Unit
       PRESS/A.2 – Representations – Relays – Host organisations

       Co-chairs: Giulia Marcon, IPE coordinator Italy; Peter Stub Jørgensen, Head of the
       Representation of the European Commission in Denmark

 The Commission has launched a new communication strategy, which identifies a role for
 information relays and networks. For this to become operational it is necessary to elaborate
 further on the organisational implications of the new strategy and to determine what contri-
 bution should be expected from the various actors involved, with a view to enhancing the
 impact of the strategy. Points for discussion:
     The emphasis on the impact of communication action – implications for the approach
      and mode of operation of IPEs: reporting, budgeting, networking, visibility; perform-
      ance-based grant system to enhance cost efficiency?
     The role of mediator between the EU institutions and the citizens: who does what?
     Support needed from the Commission for the IPEs to play their new role.
     Partnership between the Commission and the host organisations.
     Decentralisation of management of, and support services to IPEs.
     Allocation of responsibilities between unit PRESS/A.2 and the Representations in the
      Member States: current situation, strong and weak points, the way forward.



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2.     Networking and quality control within the framework of the new communication pol-
       icy; cooperation between relays, e.g. with Carrefours and other information networks

       Co-chairs: Hep Krekel, IPE coordinator Germany; Timo Mäkelä, Head of the Represen-
       tation of the European Commission in Finland

 The emphasis placed by the new communication strategy on the effectiveness of the infor-
 mation and communication action shifts the focus on the approach to information and com-
 munication of the individual relay. It becomes important what resources the individual relay
 can count on and on how individual relays conceptualise the quality of their action. Relying
 on the expertise, collaboration and support of other actors – Information Offices of the Euro-
 pean Parliament, representatives of Member States, representatives of other information
 networks - is an enriching and cost-effective way to gain access to additional crucial re-
 sources. Points for discussion:
     Information and communication as a result of a collaborative process with local agents.
     Enhancing the impact of information and communication through the joint effort of sev-
      eral information actors.
     Exchanges of best practice: learning from peers 1 – networking at national level.
     Exchanges of best practice: learning from peers 2 – networking at transnational level.
 In the new communication strategy, the notion of quality is not an abstract one, but appears
 to be related to the quality of the information and communication process, and to the impact
 of such a process. Points for discussion:
     Is quality (of process and impact) currently a concern? Are there any examples of good
      practice?
     Should one be concerned with quality only ex-post (when evaluating a processor an ac-
      tion) or is it a concern that should influence the strategy and approach to information and
      communication?
     What contributions to quality can come from networking, transparency, and dialogue?
     What support can be envisaged from the Commission – both DG PRESS in Brussels and
      Representations in the Member States - in an effort to improve and assess quality?




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3.     Informing the citizen on the four topics of the Communication

       Co-chairs: Ann-Marie Fröberg, IPE coordinator Finland; B. Woringer, Head of Unit
       PRESS/A.1 “Relations wit the Eruopean Parliament and other Institutions and Informa-
       tion Policy”, DG Press and Communication, European Commission

 The Commission has identified four themes on which communication to the citizen will be
 considered a priority. Although communication on these topics will be the result of a whole
 action plan in each Member State involving a variety of agents and means, the relays will be
 called to play a role in these action plans. Points for discussion:
     How will information on these four topics fit in the work programme of the relays.
     Are the relays prepared for participating in this general communication effort?
     What does this new approach represent for relays in terms of opportunities and threats to
      their identity and role?
     How could relays operate in their respective area to enhance the impact of communica-
      tion on these four topics?




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4.     Promotion – visibility and relations with the media within the framework of the new
       communication policy

       Co-chairs: Pascale Le Coz, IPE coordinator France; Niels Thøgersen, Director
       PRESS/B, “Communication, Media, and Services”, DG Press and Communication,
       European Commission

 The emphasis given in the new communication strategy to the effectiveness of information
 and communication action leads to reflect on the means to achieve the greatest possible im-
 pact of any information service or event. Part of this has to do with the visibility of the relays
 and their capacity to multiply the audience for their messages. Visibility is about being iden-
 tified and recognised by the citizens as an informed and reliable information agent. It is also
 about being identified and recognised by those who “produce” the information (institutions,
 civil society, etc.) as an informed and reliable information agent. Points for discussion:
     What are the crucial factors that identify the relays as a credible information actor in the
      eyes of the citizens?
     Best practice in the field of measures specifically aimed at promoting the relays with
      citizens: web, TV, radio, telephone, paper.
     What are the crucial factors that identify the relays as a credible information actor in the
      eyes of the institutions at EU, Member State and regional level?
     Best practice in the field of measures specifically aimed at promoting the relays with in-
      stitutions at EU, Member State and regional level.
     Best practice in the field of promotion of the relays through their information and com-
      munication activities.
     Best practice in the field of promotion of the relays through their networking action.
 The media are both a means to amplify the communication from the relays and one for en-
 hancing the visibility of the relays – the two aspects are closely related. Points for discus-
 sion:
     Current experience with local/regional media: building and maintaining collaborative
      relations, what can relays give to the media and what can the media give the relays.
     Current experience with national and EU media (EbS...).
     What strategies are available to use the media (e.g., explicit presence of the relays, pro-
      viding raw information, providing elaborated messages, active presentation of regional-
      ised information…).
     How to assess the impact of communication through the media.
     What support can be given by the Commission to enhance access to the media.




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