INTERNATIONAL: Agencies chosen for EU public information drive

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has picked ten agencies to handle public information campaigns about the EU in Central and Eastern European countries applying for membership. The total annual fee for the work is around pounds 1 million.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has picked ten agencies to handle

public information campaigns about the EU in Central and Eastern

European countries applying for membership. The total annual fee for the

work is around pounds 1 million.



Hill and Knowlton has won the pitch in Hungary, MARC in Bulgaria,

Interel in the Czech Republic, CEC Government Relations in Poland, DC

Communications in Romania, Consensus and Blezurs in Latvia, Ots and

Partner in Estonia, Alora in Lithuania and Propublicum in Slovakia.



The final agency, for the Slovenian campaign, is expected to be

appointed shortly. Studio 3S is hotly tipped to win the work. The

Commission’s external affairs directorate responsible for relations with

Central and Eastern European states, DGIA, contracted the PR tendering

process to Brussels-based management company, IBF, which hosted the

pitches (PR Week, 7 August).



It saw a minimum of four agencies per country and appointed the ten over

the past month.



The selected agencies will report to Commission delegations in the ten

countries. They will be responsible for ensuring the voting publics of

these countries are informed about the implications of EU membership in

areas including the environment, agriculture, human rights and

employment.



Rather than promoting EU membership, the agencies have been briefed to

remain neutral. This leaves the governments of the countries concerned,

which applied for membership, to actively publicise its benefits.



The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are expected

to qualify for membership earlier than the other Central and Eastern

European applicants. The criteria for qualification include convergent

legal and tax collection systems and the extent of privatisations.



Once the Commission decides the criteria have been met, the governments

of the countries concerned are expected to put membership to a

referendum.



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