BRUSSELS: The European Commission has picked ten agencies to handle
public information campaigns about the EU in Central and Eastern
European countries applying for membership. The total annual fee for the
work is around pounds 1 million.
Hill and Knowlton has 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 final agency, for the Slovenian campaign, is expected to be
appointed shortly. Studio 3S is hotly tipped to win the work. The
Commission’s external affairs directorate responsible for relations with
Central and Eastern European states, DGIA, contracted the PR tendering
process to Brussels-based management company, IBF, which hosted the
pitches (PR Week, 7 August).
It saw a minimum of four agencies per country and appointed the ten over
the past month.
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 including the environment, agriculture, human rights and
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.
The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are expected
to qualify for membership earlier than the other Central and Eastern
European applicants. The criteria for qualification include convergent
legal and tax collection systems and the extent of privatisations.
Once the Commission decides the criteria have been met, the governments
of the countries concerned are expected to put membership to a