Based on lessons learned and the experience of the "Cohesion Alliance" initiative, the opinion will feed its recommendations into the ongoing cohesion policy legislative package negotiations and the preparation of the new operational programmes 2021-2027.
The future communication campaigns co-funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds will use the single branding of "EU". There will not be a reference to ESI fund or programme level in order to communicate differently, which includes a need to target wider audiences and not only stakeholders.
The single national website providing access to information on all EU programmes and fund with a special visibility for operations of strategic importance.
The European Commission will enable the re-use of communication materials produced by the managing authorities.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses that communication of cohesion policy is not solely the European Commission's responsibility, but is rather the responsibility of all actors that benefit from cohesion policy, including Member States and local authorities;
- notes that increasing the visibility of ESI funds can contribute to improving perceptions of the European Union and to restoring public confidence in European policies;
- takes the view that cohesion policy needs to be communicated differently, which includes a need to target wider audiences and not only stakeholders. The general public should be the focus of targeted communication, and this communication needs to resonate with people;
- highlights that managing authorities of operational programmes funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) must communicate the goals, funding opportunities and results of cohesion policy programmes and projects;
- welcomes the proposal put forward in the new cohesion policy legislative package to appoint national communication officers to manage, in an integrated manner, the visibility of activities relating to the Funds;
- finds it regrettable, however, that the communication initiatives developed under the Common Agricultural Policy targeted at rural areas and farmers will not be integrated into the same national communication strategies;
- calls for the definition of performance indicators to be improved, as there is currently considerable variability in indicators, which are not adapted to communication activities;
- welcomes the recent Communication of the European Commission highlighting the need to address Europe's unique communication challenge in times of fragmentation and disinformation and suggests that cohesion policy plays a pivotal role in making EU communication a joint effort across levels of government and EU institutions.