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16 Oct 2013 ... Going local – the communication potential of local and regional authorities. Committee of the Regions/ Leuven Centre for Global Governance.
Going local – the communication potential of local and regional authorities Committee of the Regions/ Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies | 4th European Conference on Political Communication | 16 October 2013 | Brussels | Committee of the Regions

‘Going local’ - Introduction Introduction of the study Research objective Methodology Structure of the report Research findings Recommendations

Research Questions Context of the communication in view of the 2014 elections…. LRAs’ willingness to support the EU communication strategy in view of the 2014 elections…. LRAs’ ability to support the EU communication strategy in view of the 2014 elections….. LRAs’ resource availability to communicate the EU in view of the 2014 elections…. LRAs’ need for additional support which could lead to more engagement….

Research methodology Literature review Contextualization Survey ‘Going local – the communication potential of local and regional authorities’ Interviews

Research findings (I) The communication of the European Union and the European Elections needs to take into account active and transparent information policies and citizen dialogues on all levels of EU governance; Communicating the European Union generates Europeanised public spheres; Developing European(-ised) public spheres can facilitate active participation and accountability of the EU polity (legitimacy); Communicating the European Union should be in the interest of LRAs as they belong to the overall system of EU governance.

Research findings (I) LRAs should have an interest in active participation; European citizens are becoming increasing sceptical: signs of alienation and indifference amongst European voters; EU voter turnout was low in 2009 and may even be out lower in 2014; the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament show the effort of inter-institutional cooperation and of a decentralized communication strategy.

Research findings (II) Based on the LRAs’ current practice to communication on the EU, there is a large significant willingness to communicate on the EU; LRAs’ communication on the EU is largely related collaboration with other cities and regions in their own Member State, or with the EU Institutions; LRA communication on the EU is mostly related to EU funded projects;

Research findings (II) Table 6: Communication of LRAs on the EU in the context of EU financed projects

No, not at all. We partly communicate because of an obligation connected with such projects. We mainly communicate on the EU due to obligations connected with such projects. No information available Total

# 6

% 16%



14 2 38

37% 5% 100%

Report, page 44

Research findings (II) LRAs use a variety of communication channels in their effort to communicate on EU financed projects; “Tool-kits”: LRAs make frequently use of various communication tools: from information on their websites, to press communication, social media to special events and information days; LRAs evaluate most of their communication tools as effective; Certain tools are seen as more effective than others; LRAs overall present themselves as being in the position to act as information givers on Europe and to add to the European Parliament communication strategies in the context of the 2014 European elections.

Research findings (II) • LRAs indicate that their level of communication on the EU has increased since 2009; • LRAs show some reluctance and indifference to commit to supporting the information campaign for the 2014 European Elections; • These findings correspond with the largely absent communication of LRAs during the 2009 elections.

Research findings (II) Table 10: Increase and Decrease of LRA Communication Efforts since 2009

# Decreased

% 1


Remained at the same level






Don't Know



No information available.




39 100% Report, page 47

Research findings (II) Table 8: LRA willingness for communicating the EU in the 2014 elections















Don’t know No information available. Total

Report, page 46

Research findings (II) • Many LRAs indicate that the 2014 information campaign is not a priority for the local or regional strategy; • Many LRAs have not yet started preparing a campaign or that they have not the right amount of people working on such a campaign; • LRAs report that more exchange is needed on how communication on the EU can be linked to the LRAs; • LRAs report that more financial means would be supportive.

Research findings (II) Table 19: : Support from the EU Institutions that could lead to more LRA engagement #


More financial means



More knowledge on what exactly needs to be communicated More collaboration and exchange of views how we can link the communication of the EU institutions to those efforts on the local and regional level





More information materials Other

16 2

47% 6%



Report, page 63

Recommendations • Decentralization aspect of the campaign needs to be emphasized; • Convincing LRAs why it is important for them to contribute to the EU election information campaign; • The CoR and CoR members: establishing ad-hoc dialogue in order to win LRAs as facilitators; • Efforts to convince voters on the local level to be go to vote; • Upcoming information campaign on the 2014 European elections needs to shape the awareness of European citizens in view of the importance of the event; • The empowerment of the EP should be accentuated to convince voters that their active participation can have an important impact on EU politics.

Recommendations • EP, EC and CoR need to work closely together to coordinate messages; • Concrete examples that focus on the valued added of the EU and the important and influential role of the EP in order to mobilize EU citizens; • Existing expertise on the LRAs level is an asset in reaching out to citizens during the upcoming campaign; • Different communication tools reach out to different audiences; • The EU institutions could use this expertise to their advantage; • LRAs view that there should be more financial means, more collaboration, exchange of views and knowledge on what exactly needs to be communicated.

Questions? Thank you very much for your attention!

Dr. Kolja Raube [email protected]