On 6 November 2017, Mr Burianek attended the presentation of Mr Luc Van den Brande's report "Reaching out EU Citizens: A new opportunity" which was made to the public in presence of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker.
The 34-page report was delivered by Mr Van den Brande in his role as Special Adviser to President Juncker on "outreach to the citizens". It is the result of meetings in 2016 and 2017 with experts in political communication, European affairs, and civil participation, as well as with staff of the EU institutions. It may influence the European Commission's upcoming communication on "How to make the Union more united, stronger and more democratic in communication terms", which was recently announced for the second quarter of 2018 in the Commission's annual work programme.
The report refers to the CoR directly (p 24) and indirectly on many occasions and highlights that the CoR has an important role to play in communicating with citizens via the CoR members. The clear focus on "going local" in establishing partnership with cities and regions (p 14) breathes the spirit of the CoR opinion on "Reconnecting Europe with its citizens" of 2014. It is to be noted that the CoR's 2015-2020 Communication Strategy, the consecutive annual communication plans and formats established by the CoR for inter-institutional coordination such as the regular meetings with all EU-institutions at Director-General and working levels, as well as and community building with local stakeholders and communication experts through annual events such as "EuroPCom", have obviously inspired the report and vice-versa as Mr Van den Brande is, for example, regularly invited to these meetings and conferences.
Moreover, three of the General Recommendations of the report are of particular interest for the CoR and provide food for thought for next possible steps in communication:
- Recommendation 5: conclude a functional cooperation agreement between the CoR and all other EU institutions , including an obligation to spontaneously provide all information to each other and to develop a common dialogue, communication and outreach with citizens;
- Recommendation 4: launching a "Covenant of Regions and Cities for Europe" coupled with an online platform supported by grassroots movements.
- Recommendation 13: develop an overall communication campaign for citizens.
Two-page summaries of the report can be downloaded in all official EU languages.