EC announces $1.6m deal for new Union applicants.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has picked ten agencies to handle public information campaigns about the European Union in Central and Eastern European countries applying for membership. The total annual fee for the work is around $1.65 million.

BRUSSELS: The European Commission has picked ten agencies to handle public information campaigns about the European Union in Central and Eastern European countries applying for membership. The total annual fee for the work is around $1.65 million.

Hill and Knowlton 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 Commission's external affairs directorate for relations with Central and Eastern European states, contracted the PR tendering process to Brussels-based management company, IBF, which hosted the pitch (PR Week, August 7).

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 such as 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.

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