Thursday, July 21, 2005

Better, much better

Originally uploaded by
Herman Beun.

The European Commission published yesterday its new communication strategy. It is a set of actions attempting to improve the way the Commission communicates with the rest of society.

It would be easy to start bashing the document. But I will not. I read it today and I have to say that there´s a lot of improvement. The Commission acknowledges the mistakes in the past, encourages more dialogue between "normal" officials and the citizens and decides to recruit communication professionals to its staff. What pleases me greatly is that the problem in ownership is admitted. The Commission will publish later a White Paper on communication. They also suggest that EU officials would do internships in NGOs and that they would invest more on possibilities for student journalists to do an internship in the Commission.

The Swedish Communications Commissioner Margot Wallström told the press that she does not believe in spin. However, quite many of the actions are about spin, i.e. designing and professionalising media actions. They even mention the goal to have celebrities work as ambassadors of the EU message.

Wallström stresses the importance of listening, rightly so. The document also states that the concerns of citizens and civil society organisations must influence the decisions made. Good work. The part that is still a bit vague is the one on civil society communication. But for once, let´s give them a chance. It´s not easy. I think that if they really manage to make the Commission more open for dialogue, they´ve done a magnificent job. Let´s not shoot the bird before it has even left the cage and tried flying.

p.s. Something completely different: A colleague of mine found a new side from my last name. As I do not speak French, this did not pop into my mind. She calls me nowadays Tommi Milkio. Got the joke?

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