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SLOVENIA ON ITS WAY TOWARDS EUROPEAN UNION AWARENESS CAMPAIGN 1997-2004 By Anže Logar, M.Sc. Government Office of the Republic of Slovenia for European Affairs Milestones 1992 application for the EU Association Agreement 1996 Association Agreement with the EU candidate country as of 1997

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  1. SLOVENIA ON ITS WAY TOWARDS EUROPEAN UNIONAWARENESS CAMPAIGN1997-2004By Anže Logar, M.Sc. Government Office of the Republic of Slovenia for European Affairs

  2. Milestones • 1992 application for the EU Association Agreement • 1996 Association Agreement with the EU • candidate country as of 1997 • 1998 start of negotiations for EU membership (until 2002) • 2003 referendum • 2004 accession to the EU

  3. Basics… • Jean Monnet: 'Governments do not join the EU. Nations and their public as a whole do.‘ • Successful EU accession = result of a collective effort of will by the people as a whole → public awareness is of utmost importance →”zgolemenost na javno osvestuvanje” (mk) • Therefore: active participation of all society 'key players' is required; sooner, better.

  4. The Communication Programme Government Public Relations and Media Office (PRMO) launched the Communication Programme in 1997. • 'Informing the Slovene Public on the EU and Slovenia's Accession' (co-financed by EU PHARE Programme) • Official 'kick-off': 9 May 1998 (Passport)

  5. Prior to launching – two dilemmas: • What is the main purpose: - to increase interest - to establish an operational system for providing info • What 'style' to apply: - to inform (=rational tone of communication) - to persuade (=emotional) Promotion vs. Presentation (Accession IS a government programme!)

  6. The 'killing PA mix': • Combination of all three standard communication techniques: - direct public information - PR - Advertising • Strategy with four main components: A. public opinion research B. activities by NGOs C. mass media D. Government communication activities

  7. A. Public opinion researchSlovenian accession to the EU has been widely discussed lately. On this issue, do you believe you are… • Source: telephone survey Ebeko, CJM

  8. A. Public opinion researchSimple facts… - more informed: highly educated, inhabitants of urban areas, retired, managers - less informed: less educated and qualified, unemployed, inhabitants of rural areas, students (!) - a positive correlation between ‘being informed’ and ‘EU support’ - a positive correlation between ‘being politically undecided’ and ‘euroscepticism’

  9. A. Public opinion research To sum up: Closer is the membership (more informed are the citizens), more negative aspects will emerge (Question: why then to perform PA campaign at all?!?) Never forget: Excessive expectations during the integration process cause a wave of euroscepticism and disappointment at the last minute. → Always present a real picture even if it is ‘grey’!

  10. A. Public Opinion REFERENDUM QUESTION If a referendum on Slovenia’s joining the EU took place next Sunday, how would you vote? Source: FDV,CJMK

  11. B. Activities by NGOs • Slovenia: no tradition of collective funding of NGOs (they mainly depend on public tenders) • NGOs cover important spectrum of society => they have to be encouraged! • 1/3 of the funds available for the Programme was allocated for the NGO activities • Public tenders: what criteria to choose? Should we finance ‘eurosceptical’ organisations/projects as well?

  12. C. Mass media • By nature: - not interested in EU issues - unwilling to form any kind of partnership - prefer to maintain critical distance • Golden rule: in no way try to interfere with editorial policy! • What we did: • 'fact-finding missions' to Brussels, Strasbourg, Maastricht (10 study visits) • material stimulation (funds for special supplements, columns, broadcasts on EU issues) • active 'selling' of news (informal briefings, exclusive interviews with prominent EU figures, organising international (political) events in Slovenia…)

  13. D. Government comunication activities • Detailed communication strategy; help from professional PR and advertising agencies (funded by PHARE Programme) • Use of different tools: - the cost-free telephone line Europhone; - an Internet home page “Slovenia. At Home in Europe”: http://evropa.gov.si/; - Euro-postcards (EU information and publication order forms); - electronic mail: evrofon@gov.si;

  14. D. Government comunication activities • Eurobus; sort of a travelling information office and library where one can obtain free publications and answers to certain issues of interest to individuals as well as browse through web sites offering "EU information“; • events; • free publications (slo, it, h!).

  15. Free publications i. Evrobilten:newsletter, dedicated to opinion leaders and makers http://evropa.gov.si/publikacije/evrobilten/ ii. Evropopotnica: for the young, especially senior grade pupils of primary schools and the junior grades of secondary schools http://evropa.gov.si/publikacije/evropopotnica/splet/ iii. Slovenija v Evropski uniji: http://evropa.gov.si/publikacije/slo-v-eu-2005.pdf iv. Slovenija v Evropi: a publication for farmers, dealing with the issue of agriculture and the reforms in this area v. Potni list vi. EU je tu! Vodič za nove državljane Unije http://evropa.gov.si/publikacije/eu-je-tu/eujetu-si.pdf vii. Publications relating to issues of interest to the members of trade unions and chambers; for the business community and interest groups

  16. D. Government communication activities • What is the golden rule: use all 4 elements simultaneously; do not rely only on PR; use diversified, targeted approach, prepare segmental strategy • Use the negotiation process as an effective tool (it is interesting, live, has a clear objective, involve many stakeholders, last relatively long) – should be maximally transparent!

  17. Financial Resources • 1997-2000: EU-PHARE resources (1 mio EUR) • 1997-2003: state budget resources: 2.47 mio EUR (in the pre-referendum period January - March 2003: 0.25 mio EUR) • 2004: state budget resources: 0.42 mio EUR

  18. Facts • 5 million hard copies of 48 different information brochures published • 11,000 answers provided through Europhone • 332 places and happenings were visited by Eurobus • 32 student concours prizes were awarded for the best EU theses and the winners were taken to Brussels or Dublin • 150 journalists attended 9 seminars for journalists organised in Ljubljana • 65 journalists participated in 10 study visits to Maastricht, Brussels, etc. • 540 NGO communication projects were co-financed, in the total amount of 800.000 euros

  19. Evaluation • All the communication tools and actions proved very successful (Europhone!) • In the spring 2004, Eurobarometer scored Slovenia very high in the perception of informed population among the 25 Member States. The same opinion poll proved through knowledge tests that the Slovenes were indeed among the best informed Europeans on EU issues.

  20. Follow-up assessment • Well prepared, structural and professional communication strategy is required. • Think about organisational structure of the project well in advance. • Use all possible means in the communication mix. • Ensure a systematic, prompt and coordinated way; possible only when you involve negotiators (GOEA) and government media office (PRMO) in the very heart of the planning and execution of activities.

  21. We spoke about glorious past… • …but what about future?

  22. Preparations for the Slovenian EU Presidency in the first half of 2008 • Organisational structure • Project approach • Planning phase completed, intensive preparations under way • Current tasks


  24. What has been already done? • 2006: planning phase => execution phase • Organisational structure; • Sub-groups – Project Papers (determining the tasks, responsible bodies, timetable, cost framework); • Slovenian Government adopted Project Papers; • Presidency Budget for 2006, 2007 and 2008; • Staffing Plan for the Presidency, First Progress Report on Presidency Preparations.

  25. Presidency in Numbers… • 310 additional temporary employments were approved; • some 1000 to 1100 civil servants are expected to participate in the presidency project; • 170 active staff (additional 121 temporary employments) on Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU; • 150-200 interpreters and translators; • The Logistics Centre has been established with a view to ensure logistic services at central level (public calls for tender, coordination of calendar etc.); • During the Presidency, more than 100, possibly even up to 300 events; • presidency website – intranet (1.12. 2005) and internet (1.1.2008); • Overall Graphic Design of the Presidency (logo)has been selected; • For the central costs of the Presidency the amount of 57 million EUR has been approved.

  26. Many thanks for your attention. http://www.svez.gov.si/

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