The move comes ahead of the expected accession of ten new member states in May next year, and is part of the EC’s information and communication strategy for enlargement, which aims to encourage public bodies to help explain the issue to local communities and businesses.
Public bodies are now being asked to submit their proposals to the EC Representation in the UK. A tender document obtained by PRWeek this week said: ‘The commission is particularly interested in new and innovative means of communicating enlargement-related issues to the public, business and the education sector.’
A spokeswoman for the EC Representation in the UK said: ‘One of the reasons behind this is that other public bodies are closer to their communities and local areas, and are better placed to communicate with them.’
She stressed that money would only be handed out to projects that promoted EU enlargement and would not be given to projects promoting individual areas.
While aimed at public sector bodies, this latest tender document could be of interest to PR agencies hoping to get involved with work being carried out by the successful applicants.
Last year the EC carried out a similar promotional funding programme, although it came ahead of this April’s Treaty of Athens, which formally invited ten applicant countries to join the EU.
Those to benefit from grants last year were the British Council Northern Ireland, the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Trust, Highland Opportunity Ltd, Local Government Information Bureau/Foreign Policy Centre and the Royal Institute for International Affairs.