FCO uses presidency to sell EU to British public

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is to mount a PR campaign promoting Britain's priorities for its forthcoming presidency of the EU to the public, and has hired Trimedia Communications to run it.

The campaign, which centres on Britain's EU presidency between July and December, aims in particular to quell concerns among older voters who have historically held deep suspicions of the EU.

A source close to the pitch said the campaign was intended to 'soften up people' to vote 'yes' in next year's referendum on the EU constitution. But an FCO spokesman said: 'The EU presidency and constitution are completely separate'.

Targeted at the national and consumer media, the campaign will promote themes such as climate change, sustainable development and responsible business. It will also seek to target younger voters, thought to be more sympathetic to Brussels, with messages about the benefits of EU membership.

Primary concerns of voters cautious of the European project revolve around a feared loss of sovereignty and anxiety that a European superstate is in the making.

The account is separate to Geronimo's existing brief to communicate the benefits of EU membership.

Trimedia declined to comment. The agency recently won the FCO's travel safety account from Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster (PRWeek, 25 March).

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