BEING ACTIVE, LESS FORMAL AND GOING LOCAL:
ADJUSTING COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
CODES Policy Brief
European politics is increasingly more dependent on the public support for EU. After the Brexit vote and expecting changes in the near future of the European Union public support will play a crucial role. This policy brief presents several suggestions on how to adjust the strategic communication of the EU in order to sustain the support of citizens for the European integration project. Our recommendations are based on empirical research conducted as part of the CODES project in six member states.
ONE UNION, TWO UNIVERSES?
Critical Perception of the EU in Six EU Member States.
Future of European integration is increasingly more discussed in current Europe. Our project studied Euroscepticism among ordinary citizens and how this can be addressed on local level. This paper summarizes the citizens’ discussions. Overall, in its first phase the project conducted debates with almost 400 citizens in six member states of the EU. According to citizens, the main benefits of the EU are the four basic freedoms, most of all freedom to travel and work in other parts of the Union. Most criticized were the European funds as the source of corruption, migration crisis as an example of the Union’s failure to protect itself, and the feeling of second-class citizenship. Our project also shows that despite calling issues the same, meanings usually differ among the countries.
CODES is a project combining research and public awareness building, co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.
The project develops the discussion with citizens on their perception of the EU membership and will ignite citizens’ thinking about the alternatives and possible negative consequences of the future without the EU. Our main aim is to raise awareness and recognition of the EU benefits among citizens, as our previous experience tells us the EU is often portrayed as a distant blaming figure for the bad policies, while the benefits remain unreported and under discussed.
Through public debates we will identify the sources of public Euroscepticism and fears as a prerequisite for it to be addressed in a meaningful way. Through roundtable-style workshops with local opinion makers we will identify tools with the highest potential to present benefits of the EU in local environment.
The main project output will be INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY based on bottom–up approach in communicating the EU. The outcomes and lessons learned in the project might be actively used in preparation of the EP elections´ communication strategy. Thus, conclusions of the project will be presented to EU institutions and Member States ministries of EU affairs ahead of the campaign leading to EP elections in 2019.
Identifying what works
Through public debates (focus group format) we will identify the sources of public Euroscepticism and fears as a prerequisite for it to be addressed in a meaningful way. Through roundtable discussions with local multiplicators we will identify tools with the highest potential to present benefits of the EU in local environment.
Understanding the sources of euroscepticism
DISCUSSIONS WITH LOCAL LEADERS
Looking for effective tools
Defining the effective communication tools for EU topics
Department of Political Science, Comenius University in Bratislava
Aneta Világi started with research on European affairs in NGO sphere, since 2006 she works at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava. Her main research focus is minority politics, voting behavior and use of experiments in political science. Author has also lead international project on studying Euroscepticism.
Department of Political Science, Comenius University in Bratislava
Pavol Baboš works as assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in Bratislava. In his research he focuses on voting behavior, attitudes towards globalization and European integration. Author regularly publishes academic journals in Slovakia and abroad.
The Comenius University is a leading institution of higher education in Slovakia. It has thirteen faculties providing BA, MA and PhD programmes in all major disciplines including European studies and journalism.
Project contact: Aneta Világi, aneta.vilagi[at]uniba.sk
Partner's website: https://fphil.uniba.sk/en/research-at-the-faculty-of-arts-comenius-university-in-bratislava/research-projects/vyber-z-najvyznamnejsich-zahranicnych-grantov/
The main goals of the foundation are to support and promote democratic values, civic participation and sustainable development in Bulgaria. Capital Foundation works in close cooperation with its sister organization Economedia publishing house (www.economedia.bg), a leading publisher of influential and well respected media.
Project contact: Lubomir Lubomirov, lubovasilev[at]gmail.com
DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR AUSWÄRTIGE POLITIK
The German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) is Germany’s network for foreign policy. As an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit membership organization, think tank, and publisher the DGAP has been promoting public debate on foreign policy in Germany for almost 60 years.
Project contact: Cornelius Adebahr, adebahr[at]dgap.org
Partner's website: https://dgap.org/de/node/30004
EuroPolicy promotes the ideas of European integration and its values. It raises awareness of the public in various agendas of European integration with EurActiv.sk.
Project contact: Pavel Nikodem, nikodem[at]europolicy.sk
Partner's website: http://www.europskeotazky.sk/
SABIEDRISKAS POLITIKAS CENTRS PROVIDUS
PROVIDUS mission is to promote evidence-based policy and the development of open society values in Latvia. PROVIDUS areas of expertise include good governance, anti-corruption, migration, with citizen participation and EU dimension as a horizontal feature throughout all activities.
Project contact: Kristine Baumane, krista.baumane[at]providus.lv
Partner's website: http://providus.lv/en/article/comprehending-and-debating-euroscepticism
FONDATION EURACTIV POLITECH
Fondation EURACTIV gathers stakeholders seeking to shape EU policies, sharing its mission‘faciliter l’efficacité et la transparence de la Communauté des Acteurs Européens’ with euractiv.com. It does not lobby, except to promote online media independence, and is not politically aligned.
Project contact: Christophe Leclercq, fondateur[at]euractiv.com
Partner's website: http://www.euractiv.com/fondation-euractiv/
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE KUTATO ÉS ELEMZO INTÉZET NONPROFI
SDI is Hungarian independent, non-partisan think tank committed to the basic values of liberal democracy, human rights, and market economy. The institute has a strong international network.
Project contact: Edit Zgut zgut[at]politicalcapital.hu
Partner's website: http://www.socialdevelopmentinstitute.eu/
THE WORLD OF NGOS
The Austrian association’s aim is to strengthen civil society through information and networking, actively supporting European integration issues and citizens’ activities with regard to challenges of today.
Project contact: Christiana Weidel, office[at]ngo.at
Partner's website: http://www.ngo.at/codes