Sunday, February 27, 2011

Millions more in EU propaganda

There is a short piece in the Sunday Times (paywall)
Ashton’s £8m PR bonanza
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, 54, is to spend £8.5m on outside public relations consultants to try to raise the public profile of her new Brussels diplomatic service.
Her office has issued a tender for agencies to provide media handling and organise VIP trips, dinners and cocktail receptions.
Critics of Ashton, whose pay package is worth £328,000 a year, question why she needs an outside agency when the European commission, of which she is vice-president, employs 1,400 communications staff. 
Which deserves a little more explanation. Here is the tender.

If you look at the tender document itself there a number of points that have been highlighted. Now I have no idea why they are highlighted (because they are important? Because they needed editing? Who knows)
They include,
networking (EUVP) including support to networking activities and the
preparation of communication tools tailored for stakeholders,
the EUVP is the visitors program. A system by which third parties are invited to gawp at the wonders of the EU.
The European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) invites young, promising leaders from countries outside the European Union on an individually tailored visit to Europe to gain a first-hand appreciation of the EU's goals, policies and people. It also serves to increase mutual understanding between professionals from non-EU countries and their EU counterparts. The unique tailoring of each programme to the participants' individual requests makes it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed.
The EUVP is jointly- sponsored and administered by the European Parliament and the European Commission. An EUVP visit consists of an individual 5- to 8-day programme of meetings with EU officials at the EU institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg and/or Luxembourg. The programme of meetings is arranged on the basis of the areas of interest expressed by the visitor so that it can be of maximum benefit. All individually tailored programmes are coordinated and arranged by the EUVP Secretariat. Travel and per diem costs are covered by the EUVP.
You get the idea.
Here's another highlight,
8. The contractor may be required to draft, edit, correct and/or translate and
disseminate texts for media relations purposes such as press releases, Opeds,
interviews, by-lines etc.
OpEds eh? The EU needs to get external expertise to write OpEds? They have over a thousand 'communications' staff as it is. Then you have the thousands of subject experts, and yet they need to buy in OpEd writing skills. Cripes, things must be tough in the Justus Lupsis.

But that is only the highlighted section, this is what is required in general,
In particular, the contractor will be required to provide the following services :
1. Assistance to the conceptualization and preparation of press material;
2. Assistance to the preparation and coverage of press events and specific media
3. Assistance to the conceptualisation and implementation of media strategies
4. Assistance to the promotion, dissemination, monitoring and evaluation of media
activities, tools, actions and press information material
5. Organising, press trips and briefings on specific subjects or projects aimed at the
generalist and specialised press plus audiovisual media; in particular:
a. organization of press visits to the EU institutions for journalists from third
b. organization of information briefings in Brussels or any other EU member
state targeting EU based journalists focusing on specific subjects of
relevance in the field of external relations;
c. organization of information briefings for EU based journalists comprising
both a visit to Brussels and a field trip to a third country ;
d. organization of press trips to enhance the visibility of EU’s external action
in a particular mission (i.e.: Afghanistan, Somalia,) providing a better
understanding of the EU’s position in a given country/region.
For press trips and briefings described above, the services covered would include in

o Advice on a media programme,
o Advice on theme / programme preparation
o Selection of course leader
o Contact/selection of invited participants
o Invitations/follow-up of invitations
o Travel and accommodation
o General administrative support (logistics)
o On-site assistance
o Assist smooth running / trouble-shooting
o Preparation and production of seminar documents
o Follow-up / evaluation / report
o Interpretation
6. The creation, compilation and management of a pool of media contacts by areas
of interest (national, topical etc)
Another section highlighted is this,
3. Production of audiovisual material and/or b-roll on short notice to cover special
events, Delegation’s activities and /or high senior official activities in the subject
field of this invitation to tender to meet specific demands for news, sound and
Which in my language is fire fighting. It's in the filed of media response to,
"Oh shit we've screwed up... Help"

What is astonishing to me is that this is being done openly and publically and nobody bats an eyelid. Going back to that quote from the Sunday Times. "Critics of Ashton". Do you want to know who they are?

Marta Andreasen and me.


Anonymous said...

Baroness Antoinette, eh ?

Gawain Towler said...

Mais oui mon brave