Tuesday 22 June 2010

Communicating Europe 2020 strategy: Time to act

The previous blog post, Europe 2020 strategy asleep?, remarked on the paucity of information and lack of inspirational character of the European Commission’s central web page on the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.

Commission Work Programme

If we look at the substance, the first of four strands of Commission action in 2010 is: Tackling the crisis and sustaining Europe’s social market economy (page 3).

The Commission goes on to describe how it will advance its centrepiece initiative, the Europe 2020 strategy, under the following headings (pages 4 to 7):

• Exiting from the crisis
• Advancing the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives
• Tackling Europe’s bottlenecks and missing links


Commission Work Programme 2010: Time to act, Volume I; Brussels 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final (13 pages)

The strategic Europe 2020 flagship initiatives in 2010 and probable later priority proposals are then listed individually in the Annexes to the Commission Work Programme 2010:

Commission Work Programme 2010 Time to act, Volume II Annexes; Brussels, 31.3.2010 COM(2010) 135 final (44 pages)

Commission’s communication priorities

Even if the name of the Europe 2020 strategy is not mentioned, the Commission’s Work Programme 2010 could hardly be clearer about its crucial role among the communication priorities (page 11):

Communicating Europe in a transparent and accessible manner is a prerequisite for citizens' participation in the democratic life of the Union and for Europeans to be fully aware of the opportunities provided by EU policies. This is a shared responsibility of all actors at different levels, with the Commission willingly taking up its part. In addition to general information and communication activities, the Commission will put particular emphasis on three joint communication priorities: driving the economic recovery and mobilising new sources of growth; climate action and energy; making the Lisbon Treaty work for citizens.

According to president José Manuel Barroso’s mission letter, he and vice-president Viviane Reding are in charge of the communication policy of the European Commission.

However, if you look at the web page of commissioner Reding or of DG Communication, you may be forgiven for asking if anyone takes responsibility for communication policy in the new Commission.

Common communication priorities

The Council’s Working Party on Information (WPI) has essentially endorsed the partnership approach between the EU institutions and the member states, including the theme on driving the economic recovery and mobilising new sources of growth.

The remarks (on page 4) specifically targeted issues relevant to the Europe 2020 strategy (economic crisis and Digital Agenda), in:

EU common communication priorities for 2010; Brussels, 2 June 2010, Council document 10531/10


There can be little “ownership” of the Europe 2020 strategy among citizens and so called stakeholders before the EU institutions and the member states start communicating in earnest.

In this, turning the dormant Commission web page on the Europe 2020 strategy into a dynamic and comprehensive website is a crucial and urgent first step.

Ralf Grahn

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