European states look to financial PR experts to counter economic crisis

Crisis-hit European governments are turning to financial PR experts to help rebuild their country's tarnished economic reputations.

Needs help: the Greek parliament
Needs help: the Greek parliament

It is understood that the Greek government is in initial conversations with a number of global financial PR specialists to help its international comms after the country's credit rating was slashed to junk status last week.

The Greek government held discussions about comms strategies with agencies around the turn of the year, notably with Bell Pottinger. This time international financially-focused agencies such as Brunswick and FD are thought to be among those in the frame.

One source noted: ‘The Greek government is looking for an agency with critical international locations under one roof. Germany is a critical market, as is North America given that a great deal of Greek government debt is owned by US investors.'

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Portuguese government, which also saw its credit rating downgraded last week, has engaged Kreab Gavin Anderson to help communicate the action it is taking to tackle its deficit.

KGA has been working on a brief in recent weeks focused on communicating with the country's debt investors as well as relations with the international media and European regulators. It is understood that a key strategic element of the brief is to explain the steps Portugal has taken to modernise its economy and to draw distinctions between its economic position and that of Greece.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's last week cut Portugal's long-term rating to 'A-' from 'A+' and Greece to ‘BB+' from ‘BBB+'. The other two major rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch, have yet to follow suit, but commentators expect further downgrades.

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