The European Committee of the Regions had already established links with numerous communication directorates of European regions and felt the need to create a "network of communicators" to support the information work of CoR members in their territories. This led to the first edition of Europcom in 2009 in partnership with Belgian regions. Communicators from regions and large cities shared knowledge about common European issues: who produces information in Brussels; how to make it accessible to local and regional authorities, and to the general public, etc. From the very beginning, we felt there was a gap to be bridged between EU communicators and their regionally-based colleagues. This is why the CoR's Communication Directorate, right from the first Europcom, asked the Directorates General of the other European institutions to be involved in the event.
I would cite the laborious round table discussions that the CoR's Communication Directorate had initiated with the Belgian founding members, and the multiple levels of this federal state. We spent a lot of time and energy before we were able to present the event concept to the regional representation offices in Brussels. They were already well involved in the OPEN DAYS and quickly asked their communication departments to join Europcom. This really appealed to our colleagues from the European institutions.
Europcom quickly grew to include academics, polling institutes and communication agencies, and this at a time when the media landscape was exploding and social networks were coming into being. I remember at the beginning the discreet appearances of the Facebook delegate whose successor is a star guest at the opening session of the 2020 edition!
Europcom developed wonderfully as an event matching an expectation on the public communicators' market. And it has remained the meeting place for European public communicators.
Since its inception, Europcom has involved all the European institutions. This inter-institutional cooperation remains exemplary and unique. It brings significant added value in shaping a corporate identity for the EU and in striving to unify and simplify the modes of communication between institutions. We know it's not easy but EuroPCom is the common home of all communicators in the European Union.
I hope this event will have a lasting and more permanent effect on the coordination of the information and communication policies of the European institutions. But for this to happen we must capitalise on EU brands, and the Green Deal must become one of the strong brands that territories can adopt because it will have concrete effects on the economy and social cohesion.
Finally, the challenge of EU communication is that of decentralisation and proximity to citizens. EuroPCom must not recreate another Brussels bubble, but I think it is really in good hands.
📌 Watch the takeaways of our Ideas Labs on the last day of this #EuroPCom:
Learning from the legacy of miscommunicating climate science
🔶 DIGITAL: Countering misinformation narratives