The European Commission has put out for tender its pounds 2.5
million PR contract for Phare, the support programme for prospective EU
applicants in central Europe.
Issued by the commission’s external relations arm Directorate-General
IA, the long-awaited tender comes six months after The Rowland Company’s
three-year contract to promote the programme expired (PR Week 5 July,
The PR campaign handled by Rowland was mainly geared towards explaining
and raising the overall profile of Phare among the media, political
decision makers and non-governmental organisations. The agency was
particularly active in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and
However, the commission has now shifted the emphasis of the campaign
towards supporting the EU’s wider pre-accession strategy for prospective
new members and away from promoting Phare as a programme in its own
Thomas Glaser, who leads the Phare information unit, explained that the
commission was looking for a Brussels-based agency to devise a core PR
strategy, while EC delegations in each country would recruit their own
consultancies. Calls for tender for these local contracts are likely to
be issued before June.
The central contractor in Brussels will have a budget of 3.5 million ecu
at its disposal and will be expected to provide strategic advice, media
relations support, an Internet information service and a database of
contacts. The deadline for receipt of tenders is 1 April and a decision
is expected in June or July.