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Brussels, 1st February 2006

Commission’s White Paper on European Communication Policy. Debating Europe - involving citizens

The European Commission today adopted a White Paper on a European Communication Policy. Vice-President of the Commission, Margot Wallstrom, said: “Communication is first and foremost a matter of democracy. People have a right to know what the EU does and what it stands for. And they have a right to fully participate in the European project. Communicating Europe is not just a Brussels affair. EU institutions and Member States must now work on it together. The European Union has grown up as a political project but has not found a place in people’s hearts and minds. The White Paper is the Commission’s proposal to respond to this challenge and to lay the foundation of a European Union Communication Policy”.

The White Paper follows the publication of the Commission Action Plan on Communication, adopted in July 2005, which outlined the steps that the Commission would take to reform its own communication activities, to get closer to citizens and to be more responsive to their concerns.

The main purpose of the White Paper is to mobilise all the key actors (EU institutions and bodies, the Member States, regional and local authorities, political parties and civil society). It will be crucial in raising awareness and creating commitment.

The White Paper proposes five areas where joint action should be taken;

  • defining common principles for communication on European issues;
  • empowering citizens;
  • working with the media and new technologies;
  • understanding public opinion;
  • doing the job together.

The consultation period will run for six months. At the end of this period, the Commission will summarise the replies and draw conclusions with a view to proposing plans of action for each working area.
European citizens and all interested parties are invited to respond by logging on to a specially-created multilingual website

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