Anneli Kimber and Ehtel Halliste: EU-related communication in Eastern Partnership countries

19. May 2015

In late 2013, the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership made the development of EU-related communication in Eastern Partnership countries one of its top priorities by launching a comprehensive training programme involving public sector communicators, journalists and the civil society from all six partner countries. The main goal of the programme was to develop their skills in the area of EU-related communication and share the relevant experience of Estonia and other countries who have become EU members in the past eleven years. The EU is a major donor for the Eastern Neighbourhood region. Nonetheless, the combined efforts of the EU and its Member States are still often not recognized within the region. There is a lack of visibility and also lack of awareness and sometimes understanding by the citizens from partner countries, the final beneficiaries and also at the level of opinion makers. Following the conclusions of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on 29 January, and the European Council conclusions of 19-20 March 2015, the EU is now moving forward with specific plans for stepping up its strategic communication activities in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the contribution of individual Member States has become even more vital. For Estonia, highlighting the importance of effective communication and supporting the people at the forefront of delivering communication in the Eastern partner countries is an essential part of the EU’s renewed strategic approach. Thus ECEAP remains committed to continuing the training programme in close partnership with individual countries based on their diverse needs. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of the first stage of the training programme and to analyse the current situation in the partner countries in the area of EU-related communication. The paper aims to identify gaps and possible ways to fill them by providing key findings and recommendations. Having previously worked on EU-related communication projects in four partner countries, the authors of this paper also suggest possible ways for enhancing the EU institutions’ communication and outreach activities in the region. Read the publication with key findings and recommendations here (.pdf)