Conclusa la fase di consultazione sul Libro Bianco, ecco il contributo di FERPI al dibattito su una
Lo scorso 30 settembre, la Commissione Europea ha chiuso la lunga fase di ascolto avviata lo scorso febbraio, per cominciare la valutazione dei contributi raccolti. Ecco il documento che FERPI ha elaborato anche alla luce delle riflessioni emerse dal suo Road Show nazionale.
Negli ultimi sei mesi la FERPI ha avviato una intensa azione di dibattito finalizzata a fornire un contributo effettivo e progettuale alla campagna di consultazione che la Commissione Europea ha avviato sui temi della Comunicazione, attraverso l'emanazione del suo Libro Bianco nel febbraio 2006.Le tematiche proposte dal documento sono state il punto di partenza per una serie di riflessioni che hanno portato la FERPI ad agire sia a livello locale, con l'organizzazione di un Road Show nazionale scandito dalle quattro tappe di Catania, Padova, Gorizia e Milano, sia a livello europeo, attraverso un proprio contributo al position paper che la CERP (Confederazione Europea delle Relazioni Pubbliche) ha presentato alla Commissione dopo una consultazione tra le associazioni nazionali che ne fanno parte.Questa ampia fase di ascolto, estesa dalla Commissione Europea ai tutti i suoi stakeholder, si è conclusa lo scorso 30 settembre per dare il via all'elaborazione e alla valutazione di tutti i contributi offerti alla campagna.Anche FERPI, volendo offrire una proposta autonoma alla Commissione Europea - oltre a quella già fornita attraverso la CERP -, ha predisposto un documento che raccoglie molte delle istanze emerse nel corso del Road Show e che vuole essere un contributo operativo al dibattito innescato dal Libro Bianco sulle nuove politiche per una Comunicazione europea.Ecco di seguito il documento.
Question 1: Defining common principles to guide communication activities on European issues: which way forward? A viewpoint on the European Charter or Code of Conduct on Communication. Common principles and Charters to guide communication activities are useful inasmuch as they may help fill the void of a European Public Sphere, while a Code of Conduct would simply add yet another fulfilment process which might also produce a negative reaction.A Recovery plan should clearly define and explain the main overall goals of the European Union, and envisioning its mission, its strategy towards its vision, and its main values.The second step requires to identify and prioritize stakeholders, listening to their opinions and expectations about Europe and its democratic and dialogue deficits, in order to include and enhance participation of citizens, the ones who agree/disagree with the current EU policies, and the ones who do not have a position about the issue.This envisioning process needs to be conducted in full transparency and bottom up, incentivating ample participation by those widespread publics who disagree and understanding their motivations. This, well before organizational objectives are set in order to ensure an overall improvement of the decision making process and therefore an acceleration of their implementation times. Question 2: Empowering citizens - How to reach out to the citizen? Citizens need to be engaged in dialogue on the basis of their opinions of and attitudes towards current EU policies. Different communication models need be carried forward, issue by issue, stakeholder group by stakeholder group, rather than simply country by country. It is essential to prioritise and segment publics across border lines by issues.
Pre-packaged messaging tools sent to all member states, with no difference at all - what technically is called one-way asymmetric communication - should be avoided. More freedom and power should be given to specific organisations and departments who are closer to selected priority constituencies to develop ad hoc dialogue mechanisms on the basis of common values and coeherent, but not necessarily identical, communication procedures. Question 3: Working with the media and new technologies - How to involve the media, including new technologies, more effectively in communicating on Europe? This is a step where traditional and new citizen generated media need first of all to be considered as full stakeholders in themselves before thinking of them as information carriers. Thus, they need to be identified, selected, monitored, listened and engaged in on going dialogue.The model of involving media has to be as two-way symmetrical as possible. Moreover, the level of involvement may be enhanced through more pr professionalism inside EU departments, and a more appealing way of EU broadcasts and features on newspapers. Apparently there is much room, for instance, for storytelling and other kinds of newsmanaging concerning EU.
Communication Europe' requires a much deeper answer than merely a one-way, top-down flow of information. The European issue is primarily political, and the challenge for pr professionals inside and outside EU institutions is to see whether and which communication practices can contribute to sustainable solutions towards a single public sphere. Question 4: Understanding European public opinion - What more can be done to gauge European opinion?Since there is no detectable European public sphere today, there is no European public opinion. There are many different European public opinions corresponding to the issues which mostly impact on Eu's agenda often with very little bearing on national public spheres.This is why Eurobarometer needs to go through the three R process itself.However, in the short term national debates such our Ferpi roadshow on the White Paper - are useful because they help create the concept and the need for a European public sphere. Question 5: Doing the job together - How will the partnership between the key actors, i.e. member states, EU institutions, local and regional authorities, political parties and civil society organizations, work?The main goal is to make relationship management with stakeholders and influencers as wide as possible. This is why roadshows and debates are useful.EU should strongly incentivate cross border activities of issue oriented mixed groups of civil society, eu employees, professional associations, cultural and political institutions coordinated by eu civil servants also through the nation by nation representative offices.
Question 6: New ideas and general comments
The Italian Federation of Public Relations (FERPI) is fully aware that Europe quickly needs to reduce its deficits: Dialogue, Debate, and Democracy. One might add a fourth "D": Delivery, complaining of insufficient benefits that the Union delivers to its citizens. 14 years since the European citizenship concept in the Maastricht Treaty, symptoms are clear. After the recent rejections of a single Constitution for Europe, and deep in the process of a declining consensus of the Union's goals amongst its citizens, it is essential to accelerate the rethinking and relaunching and recovery (the three R's) of the European identity towards a democratic stakeholding framework in the context of a new European public sphere. This is the main reason why Ferpi the Italian federation of PR which associates more than 1000 professionals - has carried out a roadshow around Italy over the last 6 months. This roadshow has involved all partners and stakeholders, both at the national and local level. The answers and comments from 1 to 5 mainly derive from the vaste debate that has aroused in Italy during the meetings, and Ferpi strongly recommends them for the implementation of a truly participated "three R's process" . They have also been provided to the Cerp, the European Confederation of Public Relations to whom Ferpi is associated, which has submitted a pan-European position paper.