A Dutch public-awareness campaign that shows how European funding is being used in their neighbourhoods, cities and regions is this year's winner of the European Public Communications prize, awarded annually to the best contribution to communicating the European Union.
The organisers of the campaign – 'Kijkdagen – Europa om de hoek' (Open days – Europe around the corner) – received their award in the presence of Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on 21 October during this year's EuroPCom conference, which brings together communications specialists from local, regional, national and European authorities to professionalise government and EU communications. The EuroPCom 2015 conference, held on 21-22 October and attended by over 900 people, is organised by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), in partnership with other EU institutions.
Shortly before the presentation, the keynote speech of the conference was given by Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer of WPP, the multinational advertising and public-relations group.
The 'Kijkdagen – Europa om de hoek' campaign began in 2011, when the Dutch government and the European Commission's representation in the Netherlands decided to mark Europe Day, 9 May, by showcasing ways in which EU funding is being used. This year's campaign focused on 12 projects – one for each Dutch province – with a promotional video about each project. Over the years, the campaign has highlighted support provided for aquaculture, for waste-water treatment and a study assessing the feasibility of building a comfortable, energy-efficient home for €100,000.
"The annual event, combined with media campaigns and an interactive web platform, clearly show the added value of EU funding for regional economic development in the Netherlands", said Jiří Buriánek, Secretary-General of the CoR and chairman of the panel. He added that the campaign has already inspired several similar campaigns in other countries.
A nation-wide television campaign that highlighted the impact of EU funding on individuals and their businesses won second place. The campaign – entitled 'Notre pays bouge, l’Europe s’engage' ('Our country is on the move, Europe is committed') and organised by the French Commissariat for Territorial Equality in collaboration with regional partners – featured a series of 66 spots of 30 seconds' length broadcast on national television over six months. "This shows us that mass media campaigns – if smartly and efficiently used – still have to power to mobilise a large audience and to trigger public debate", Mr Buriánek said.
Third prize went to an events-based communications campaign – 'Let's Create Together Bulgaria 2020' – organised by the Bulgarian ministry charged with handling EU funds. In an effort to solicit ideas on how to use EU funds at the local level over the next five years, the campaign organised 600 events across the country. In all, 50,000 people attended the events. "This is a good example of a bottom-up approach on how to communicate about Europe", Mr Buriánek said.
The award ceremony, which was held in the European Parliament, was also attended by Sylvie Guillaume, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and by Luc van der Brande, Vice-President of the CoR and special adviser to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
Information about the winning projects as well as the call for the 2016 European Public Administration Award is available on the EuroPCom website.
Lauri Ouvinen Tel. +32 22822063 firstname.lastname@example.org