Communicating Europe

The time is ripe for European public diplomacy to take centre stage, Mai'a K. Davis Cross and Jan Melissen argue in a recent policy brief. As far as the EU does engage with with the rest of the world, communication is too often based on one-way informational practices rather than true dialogue.

Abstract

The time is ripe for European public diplomacy to take centre stage. Europe, and particularly the EU, is often misunderstood and seen in unnecessarily negative terms. The Eurozone crisis exacerbated the existing image of prevailing self-doubt.

We argue that the EU myopically devotes too great a proportion of its communication resources to outreach with its own citizens. It is important to bridge the existing gap between the intra-EU and international communication spheres. Communicating Europe in other parts of the world will become increasingly important to Europeans and to business interests.

The erosion of European influence and attractiveness is already evident in a number of policy areas. With international opinion in flux, it is urgent to prevent foreign publics from looking at Europe as a shopping paradise for high-end luxury items, or a continent suffering from endemic pessimism. As far as the EU does engage with with the rest of the world, the problem is that communication is too often based on one-way informational practices rather than true dialogue.

EU member-state governments, still behaving as though state-based diplomacy remains the name of their age-old Westphalian game, should be more conscious of the strengths of Europe's pluralistic and multi-level governance environment. Sharing excellence in public diplomacy practices is in their own interest as well as of other international actors in Europe.

Download the policy brief (pdf)

Communicating Europe: At Home in Tomorrow's World
Mai'a K. Davis Cross and Jan Melissen
Clingendael Policy Brief No. 24, October 2013

Published Nov. 6, 2013 11:08 PM - Last modified Mar. 25, 2014 11:51 AM