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Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and Economic and Monetary Union

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52004DC0552

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and Economic and Monetary Union /* COM/2004/0552 final */


COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and Economic and Monetary Union

Executive Summary

Barely two years after the successful introduction of euro notes and coins in twelve Member States, information and communication on the euro and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is entering a new phase. This Communication presents the European Commission's information and communication strategy for this phase.

In several resolutions [1], the European Parliament has stated that "the information campaign on the introduction of the euro has been successful in terms of European Union information and communication" and that "top priority information and communication should focus on issues close to the everyday lives of citizens (topics such as [...] the euro)".

[1] European Parliament Resolutions of 13 March 2002 on "the Commission communication on a new framework for cooperation on activities concerning the information and communication policy of the European Union" and of 10 April 2003 on "an information and communication strategy for the European Union".

Information and communication on the euro and EMU clearly remains a priority for the European Union (EU):

* The enlargement of the EU on May 1, 2004 will lead to the expansion of the euro area in the future, when Treaty conditions are met.

* The introduction of the euro, a historic step in the construction of the EU, needs to be consolidated by increasing public support for the single currency.

* The introduction of euro notes and coins has had a huge positive influence on how third countries view the EU and its economic role. This trend should be encouraged.

The information and communication strategy for the euro and EMU is part of the overall "Information and Communication Strategy for the European Union" (COM(2002)350) and its implementation (COM(2004)196) adopted by the Commission. It must thus slot into the overall play of Member States' communication policy, providing value added and a tangible European dimension to the democratic debate in each Member State. To do this, it will focus on strengthening interinstitutional cooperation and developing structured partnerships with the Member States, while continuing to ensure overall consistency.

The aim is to increase public knowledge within and outside the EU on the working of EMU and to contribute to a smooth changeover in those Member States which adopt the euro.

This Communication "on the implementation of an information and communication strategy for the euro and EMU" explains why the euro remains a communication priority, describes the general principles of the strategy and the key players' roles, identifies the targets and sets out the operational aspects.

Information and communication on the euro and EMU remains a top priority, particularly in the new Member States.

1. Information and communication on the euro and emu is a top priority

1.1. Information and communication on the euro and EMU is part of an overall strategy

In its Communication on "implementing the information and communication strategy for the European Union" (COM(2004)196), the Commission identifies the new form of governance represented by the EU as a priority focus: indeed the lack of understanding among the public makes a genuine information and communication policy important in order "to improve perception of the European Union and its Institutions and their legitimacy by deepening knowledge and understanding of its tasks, structure and achievements and by establishing a dialogue with its citizens". Those goals must be achieved by strengthening interinstitutional cooperation and developing decentralised activities and structured partnerships with the Member States.

The Commission has so far concentrated on four priority information topics: enlargement, the future of the Union, the area of freedom, security and justice, and the euro. A fifth was added in 2004: the role of Europe in the world.

The information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU has taken the general guiding principles set out in the abovementioned Communication and built on them by planning specific activities targeting specific groups and the general interested public.

1.2. Objectives of the information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

The strategy will strive to achieve the following objectives in Member States and third countries outside the EU:

* help create public awareness and understanding of the requirements for EMU to function properly, such as the need for sound public finance and the coordination of economic policies;

* provide neutral and factual information that will enhance citizens' understanding of the euro;

* contribute to a smooth changeover in the Member States which are to adopt the euro;

* provide the media, economic agents and policy-makers in third countries with the information they need on questions concerning EMU, the euro and the European economy in order to take informed decisions.

The objectives of the strategy are to:

- increase public knowledge of how EMU works;

- achieve a smooth changeover where it is required.

2. General principles underpinning the information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

2.1. Decentralisation and subsidiarity

To be credible and effective, information and communication activities must reflect citizens' culture, language and concerns. The best sources of information are those closest to the public and those considered authoritative and reliable. The Member States have a prominent role in identifying and executing actions accordingly.

2.2. Consistency and adaptability of the messages

The messages will be adapted to the country, target audience and local situation with regard to the euro. However, attention will be given to ensuring overall consistency of the messages.

2.3. Partnership

The communication strategy will be based on voluntary working partnerships with the Member States, fostering synergy between their structures and know-how and the activities of the EU. Collaboration between the Member States and the Commission will be governed by partnership agreements as defined by Communication COM(2004)196.

2.4. Priorities

The information and communication campaigns on the euro and EMU are to be implemented in all the EU Member States and outside the Union. To achieve this, the actions, tools and targets must be prioritised.

Over the next few years priority will be given to the 10 new Member States, in particular those which are ready to design and implement their strategy on the euro and EMU.

2.5. Best practices

Best practices will be applied more systematically, especially those acquired during the changeover to the euro in 1999 and 2002.

The communication strategy is based on decentralised activities while consistency will be ensured by partnership agreements. Priorities must be defined.

3. Role of the key players

3.1. Member States

The EU communication strategy will be targeted at Member States' citizens and economic operators. The Member States are therefore best placed to create information tools and products and to encourage the regional and local authorities, public interest services and networks of civil society organisations to act as information relays.

Activities will follow the form, content and timetable set out in the Member States' programmes.

3.2. European Commission

Since 1995 [2], the Commission has acquired considerable experience in the field of information and communication on the euro, which it will continue to deploy while also making it available to the Member States. In the run-up to the euro before 1999 and up to 2002, it played an important role in preparing, initiating and coordinating communication activities. Its role will now again consist of:

[2] Publication of the "Green paper on the practical arrangements for the introduction of the single currency" (COM/95/333/ Final).

* ensuring consistency of the messages;

* stimulating and coordinating the communication activities of the Member States and civil society organisations;

* proposing a range of information tools and implementing specific actions;

* organising and supporting transnational communication initiatives and information activities in non-member countries;

* managing its own centralised activities (conferences, PR and information products, regular assessment, etc.).

3.3. Interinstitutional cooperation

Implementation is to be based on shared objectives, agreed on by the three Community institutions, notably via the Interinstitutional Group on Information (IGI).

The European Parliament played a leading role in the launch of the PRINCE programme. The Commission and Parliament have built up a strong relationship since the programme was established and will continue this.

Cooperation and a clear delimitation of roles between Member States, the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament is crucial for a successful information and communication campaign.

4. Addressing citizens' needs

4.1. The state of public opinion regarding the euro

Recent opinion polls show the following [3]:

[3] Polls of June and September 2003 on the introduction of euro notes and coins.

4.1.1. The euro area

People's sense that they are well informed about the euro and EMU has increased since 2002. However, the results still vary widely by country and the number of people who think solely in euro is still relatively small. The public is not yet fully aware of the implications of the single currency for national economic policies. Existing negative perceptions [4] may make acceptance more difficult in new Member States. Communication strategies in countries that will adopt the euro should be designed to take account of this.

[4] For instance, the perception that the introduction of euro notes and coins has led to a significant increase in prices, which is not borne out by consumer price indexes.

4.1.2. Countries with an "opt-out" (Denmark and the UK)

The Danes are better informed than the British. They appear to recognise the positive, practical side of using the single currency. However, a majority of Danes think that the conversion of national prices into euro has been somewhat detrimental to consumers in the euro area. Compared to other Member States, the British have a very low level of knowledge about the euro.

4.1.3. Countries with a derogation and candidate countries

A majority of Swedes believe they are well informed, but many respondents did not know some of the basic facts about the euro. A majority also think that the conversion of national prices into euro has been somewhat detrimental to consumers in the euro area. The no vote in the referendum in Sweden on 14 September 2003 should be kept in mind, as it could have an effect on public support in other countries.

In the new Member States and candidate countries, the subject of the euro and EMU is directly linked to, and seen as a consequence of, accession. After the positive referendum on accession in the acceding countries, it may not be unreasonable to expect similar levels of popular support for the euro.

4.1.4. Third countries

A survey [5] conducted by the Commission via its delegations and representations in third countries shows a growing general awareness of the euro internationally. A recent three-month press-monitoring project in the major financial centres outside the EU and among key media actors has also shown clearly that more and better information about the euro and EMU is sought. There is particular concern about the effectiveness of the economic governance of the euro area, and more especially about the credibility of the Stability and Growth Pact.

[5] Survey on the use of euro cash outside the EU, European Commission (ECFIN/195/04-EN-13 April 2004).

4.2. Need for up-to-date information

Communication activities depend on an accurate perception of the reality on the ground for success. Public opinion will therefore regularly be assessed through surveys to identify information needs and gaps and evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns. The messages must be focused and adjusted to changing circumstances, may have to be differentiated by target group or country, and, in the new Member States, must take account of progress on preparing for and implementing the changeover.

4.3. Messages and values

The messages will shaped by the findings of opinion polls, the Commission's strategy and the EU's objectives. They will relate the euro and EMU to the history and benefits of European integration and to values such as prosperity, growth, stability, price transparency, practicality and identity. They will cover the cultural, economic, social, political, consumer and business impact of EMU and the euro. In the new Member States, practical information on the changeover will be given. The focus will depend on the geographical area and the Member States' own wishes.

4.3.1. The euro area

On EMU, further efforts are needed to explain its special architecture and why certain economic policies are needed so it can function properly. On the euro, the communication approach must bear in mind that, two years after the cash changeover, many people still think in their old legacy currencies and that thinking in euro is likely to take more time.

4.3.2. Countries with an "opt-out" (Denmark and the UK)

Here the message will be that it is for the national governments to decide whether to apply to adopt the euro. Otherwise, communication will focus on both the practicalities and substantive issues of EMU. Information on success stories in other Member States would be useful, as would accurate information to help tackle misperceptions.

4.3.3. Countries with a derogation

In Sweden, after last year's referendum, the government is not planning any specific information activities. The Commission's Delegation will provide brochures and practical information.

In the new Member States, a similar strategy to that adopted previously for the introduction of the euro will be used. The communication activities will be phased in progressively.

In the first phase, the campaigns will pursue a dual objective: to set the changeover to the euro in the broader context of the history of European integration and to provide information about the phases of economic integration, the reasons for EMU, the stability it can bring and how it works.

When the date of the changeover is set, the second phase will encourage governments, banks and large undertakings to prepare without delay for the changeover, explaining its operational implications and the need for advance preparation.

In the last phase the information campaigns will become more intensive and larger-scale. They will target the general public and be adapted to the specific needs of different population groups, e.g. vulnerable members of society (the elderly, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, etc.), young people (notably schools), women or rural populations. A particular effort will continue to be made for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and the self-employed.

4.3.4. Candidate countries

The messages should reflect the longer time-scale of their accession process. Communication activities will be increased as accession approaches in each country.

4.3.5. Third countries

Messages should concentrate on the benefits of the euro, the stability framework of EMU and the kind of economic governance at work in the euro area, the euro as an international currency, international use of the euro, and the euro as a role model for other regional economic integration processes.

4.4. Target groups

Within the abovementioned categories of countries, information and communication must focus both on specific target groups (e.g. political representatives, civil society, youth, the media and business world) and on the general public.

4.5. The tools of the communication strategy

The strategy will take a multimedia, multi-disciplinary approach. All communication tools will be used depending on the timetable, the available budget and the target audience:

* paper publications, leaflets and flyers will be produced;

* modern methods of communication (Internet, CD-ROM, etc.) will be used extensively, allowing information to be disseminated efficiently and at low cost;

* a range of attractive PR products will be made available;

* public information services (freephone information service, etc.), local information tools (info-bus, travelling exhibitions, information evenings, etc.), and tools adapted to specific categories of the population (blind and partially sighted, the illiterate, the economically disadvantaged, the elderly, etc.) will be used where appropriate in the countries which are preparing to introduce the euro;

* conferences, seminars, exhibitions and other public events will be organised;

* networking, information relays and other natural partners will be actively used to disseminate and amplify the messages;

* as the changeover approaches, TV and radio will be one of the essential tools of the "general public" component of the strategy.

Regular surveys on a country-by-country basis are essential to define the scope, messages and values of the communication, and to measure the impact of the campaign and the efficiency of the tools used.

5. Implementation of the information and communication strategy - main component

5.1. Partnership with Member States

5.1.1. Coordination

The Commission, Member States and European Central Bank will coordinate their communication activities. To this end, the Commission will continue to work closely with the directors of communication of Member States' Ministries of Finance and Central Banks and with the European Central Bank, within the "Directors of communication network", which will have a central role in defining and implementing the strategy and linking it with other activities in Member States. There will be ongoing exchanges of information between the "Directors of communication network" and the "Public administration network" [6].

[6] The network of Member State representatives responsible for the euro changeover.

5.1.2. Agreements

Partnership between the Commission and Member States will ensure maximum use is made of the Member States' own communication capacities. A substantial part of the available budget will therefore be spent in partnership with Member States. Activities must cover several years. Sufficient budgetary resources must be available over an extended period in order to cover a multi-annual programme.

Commission--Member State partnerships can take one of three possible forms [7]:

[7] See the communication from the Commission "on implementing the information and communication strategy for the European Union" (COM(2004) 196 final).

* Strategic partnerships, where the Member State and the Commission agree on the details of a communication programme and a division of tasks between the two partners, each side paying the full cost of the activities they undertake. There is no direct financial relationship between the Commission and the Member State.

* Management partnerships, where the Member State manages the whole campaign on behalf of the Commission, in accordance with the EU's Financial Regulation.

* Ad hoc partnerships, where the Commission contributes to expenses incurred by the Member State. Subcontracting costs are eligible if incurred in conformity with the public procurement directives.

5.1.3. Partnership with new Member States

In order to smoothly set up partnerships with each new Member State, it is proposed to divide them into three groups, according to the following indicative schedule:

>TABLE POSITION>

Groups will be constituted on the basis of countries' plans and progress towards EMU, as assessed on the basis of the convergence reports.

The different parties (Member State, Parliament and Commission) must agree on:

* Objectives;

* Communication plan: strategies, messages, target groups, etc.;

* Detailed action plan on timing, products, media, tools, etc.;

* Role of each party, both at the national and international level and at the local level;

* Financial aspects: co-financing rules and amount, eligible actions, reduction of the Commission's contribution if the national contribution is reduced;

* Monitoring, evaluation and control, etc;

* Shared "branding" (logos, etc.).

5.1.4. Partnership with other Member States

Partnerships may be concluded if required between the Commission and the 15 other Member States.

5.2. Twinning programme between old and new Member States

A euro/EMU twinning programme will be introduced between old and new Member States whereby the old Member State may, if so wished, cooperate with and assist the new Member State on the design and implementation of its information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU. This should greatly help the dissemination of best practices and transfer of expertise.

5.3. Networking, information relays and other natural partners

In addition to its own delegations and representations, the EU has over 700 information and documentation relays and networks in the old Member States. In new Member States they will develop gradually over the next few years. They are coordinated and facilitated by the Commission [8]. There are also some 550 "Team Europe" lecturers. Their experience, flexibility and immediate proximity to civil society and the general public make these networks particularly useful.

[8] Managed by DG PRESS.

In close coordination with the spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs, information seminars for economic journalists will be organised to encourage reporting of euro/EMU activities in the press and broadcast media in the EU and third countries.

5.4. Conferences and seminars

Conferences and seminars will reinforce the networking activities. Exhibitions and publication stands at public events will circulate regularly.

5.5. Measurement, feedback

In order for the Commission and Member States to set and, if necessary, adjust communication objectives and measure progress in achieving them, bbboth qualitative and quantitative surveys will be carried out.

5.6. External information activities

The Commission has well-advanced plans to hold a series of conferences and seminars in the USA, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The target audience is key institutional and opinion makers and media influencers, journalists and key media. Relations with journalists will also be intensified by means of regular, specialised meetings, specifically in the context of conferences and seminars.

Finally, a media monitoring programme, in which the spokesperson for Economic and Monetary Affairs is involved, will be organised in third countries to ascertain how the EMU, the euro and the European economy are perceived in the major financial centres outside the EU.

5.7. Publications and other information products

Besides the Commission's euro website and the specialised products for more targeted economic groups, such as "European Economy", we will increase efforts to provide the general public with a range of publications and PR products.

The Commission will publish a newsletter, in paper and electronic form. The number of PR products (bearing the euro symbol) should also be increased. A wide range of information material (leaflets, flyers, posters, etc.) will be available.

5.8. Partnership with business and civil society

The business sector and civil society are natural targets for our information and communication activities. They are, however, primarily organised at local or Member State level and consequently it will be for Member States to work directly with these sectors. However, the Commission can complement these activities either directly or indirectly, e.g. by working with pan-European umbrella organisations.

5.9. No-direct-cost activities

A number of no-direct-cost activities are planned, especially in the field of networking, such as cooperation with existing EU information and documentation centres or development of the website. The aim is to build up and run an information network on the EU's economic policy and the euro. Other existing networks in Member States can also be used to disseminate information.

Links will be established with the main sources of practical information, which, in addition to governments and central banks, could include commercial banks and other financial institutions, consumer groups, manufacturers, and the retail and distributive trades.

5.10. Evaluation of the strategy

In accordance with Article 27 of the Financial Regulation [9], the strategy will be evaluated in order to adjust it where necessary.

[9] Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.

The Commission will report on any adjustments within the next two years.

* The main areas of communication will be: partnership with the Member States, the twinning programme, partnership with business and civil society, networking with information relays and other natural partners, measurement and feedback, external information activities and publications and other information products.

* A regular assessment of the actions carried out and an in-depth evaluation of the strategy will allow adjustments if needed.

6. Conclusions

This Communication proposes an information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU which is part of the European Commission's overall policy. The strategy is based on a few simple principles: decentralisation and subsidiarity, message consistency and partnership with Member States. The Member States play a prominent role in identifying and executing actions, while the Commission stimulates and coordinates the various actions and manages centralised activities.

A large part of the budget will be earmarked for activities developed in partnership with the Member States. In the light of the range of targets to be reached and messages to be disseminated and the different timetables, the activities must cover several years, and sufficient budgetary resources must be made available for the duration.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Policy area(s) : Economic and Financial Affairs

Activit(y/ies): 01 02 04 - Communication on Economic and Monetary Union, including the Euro

Title of action: Implementation of a Communication Strategy on the Euro and Economic and Monetary Union

1. BUDGET LINE(S)+HEADINGS

01 02 04 PRINCE - Communication on Economic and Monetary Union, including the euro

2. OVERALL FIGURES

2.1. Total allocation for action: EUR6.000.000 for commitment in 2004.

2.2. Period for application: 2004-2006.

2.3. Overall multi annual estimate of expenditure:

(a) Schedule of commitment appropriations/payment appropriations:

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(b) Technical and administrative assistance and support expenditure:

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(c) Overall financial impact of human resources and other administrative expenditure:

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2.4. Compatibility with financial programming and financial perspective

Proposal is compatible with existing financial programming. Consistency will be required with financial perspectives.

2.5. Financial impact on revenue

Proposal has no financial impact on revenue.

3. BUDGET CHARACTERISTICS

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4. LEGAL BASIS

Measures taken by the Commission by virtue of its institutional prerogatives.

5. DESCRIPTION AND GROUNDS

5.1. Need for Community intervention

5.1.1. Objectives pursued

The information and communication strategy for the EMU and the euro is part of the overall "Information and Communication Strategy for the European Union" (COM(2002)350 final) and its implementation (COM(2004)196 final) which have been adopted by the Commission.

The objectives pursued are, on one hand to increase public knowledge within and outside the European Union on how EMU works; and on the other hand to achieve a smooth changeover where it is required. Communication on the EMU and the euro, issues that remain a priority for the European Union, will be based on both a strengthening on interinstitutional cooperation and the development of structured partnerships with the Member States, while continuing to ensure overall consistency.

The communication strategy is based on decentralised activities while consistency will be ensured within partnerships' agreement between the Commission and Member States. In this context, twinning agreements between old and new Member States will be concluded, so the old Member States can share their experience and best practices acquired in the activities during the changeover to the euro in 1999 and 2002.

In order to achieve this, cooperation and well defined role between Member States, the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament is an important key for a successful information and communication campaign. The Commission will report to the Member States and to the European Parliament on the ongoing evaluation of its communication activities.

In order to be successful, the activities have to be adapted and targeted to a specific audience. Therefore, regular quantitative and qualitative surveys on a country-by-country basis are absolutely essential to define the scope of the communication, the messages and values to be addressed, and to measure the impact of the campaign and the efficiency of the tools.

Measures have also to be implemented in a new context shaped by the implications of the entry into force of the new Financial Regulation and implementing rules and by the need to adjust the available resources to the implications of the enlargement.

5.1.2. Measures taken in connection with ex ante evaluation

The communication from the Commission "on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and the EMU" has taken into account most of the relevant recommendations expressed in the evaluation [10] report made by Deloitte & Touche and Burson - Marsteller. The Commission had already implicitly learned many of the lessons of the previous Prince programme on the euro.

[10] « Evaluation of the information programme for the European citizen « the euro-one currency for Europe", Deloitte & Touche and Burson-Marsteller, Final Report ECFIN/R/4/2002/04, August 2003. http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/about/evaluation/evaluation_princeeuro_en.htm

First of all, the Commission will continue to act in areas and on a manner which has proven its efficiency. The Commission will remain to play an acknowledged direct role in raising awareness of key issues. The same will apply to its partnerships with Member States. The practice of co-financing through joint conventions with the Member States, combined with activities managed by the Commission and exchange of experience via regular meetings of national Directors of communication, was an innovative and broadly successful approach which will continue to be the motor of the communication activities.

Secondly, the information and communication strategy for the euro and EMU is part of the overall "Information and Communication Strategy for the European Union" (COM(2002)350) and its implementation (COM(2004)196) adopted by the Commission. It will thus slot into the overall play of Member States' communication policy, providing value added and a tangible European dimension to the democratic debate in each Member State. The optimal approach is for all the stakeholders to play their respective role with transparency, clarity of objectives, appropriate resource levels and equitable sharing of their financial responsibilities.

Finally, in order to ensure a clear basis for the subsequent assessment of the strategy an exercise will take place before the end of 2004 to establish a framework for its evaluation, with the emphasis on establishing SMART objectives and identifying appropriate indicators and data sources.

5.1.3. Measures taken following ex post evaluation

Deloitte & Touche and Burson-Marsteller conducted an evaluation of the previous PRINCE programme on the euro. This evaluation deals with the Commission's role in the information campaign which accompanied the introduction of the euro and how the Commission handled this unique communication challenge strategically and operationally.

This evaluation is mainly centred on information actions directly or indirectly implemented between 1996 and 2002 by the Commission, and financed through the PRINCE programme. During this period a number of texts and actions were also adopted and implemented by the Commission (referred to as "no-cost" actions in the evaluation), with the primary objective of preparing for the introduction of the euro, and some of which included elements aimed at communicating with and informing target audiences.

In this context, a limited number of these initiatives were covered in the evaluation. However, the evaluator was not specifically asked to address this type of initiative in a systematic way and, as a consequence, most of those introduced by the Commission during the three-year transition period are not mentioned in the report. The evaluation of the Commissions' contribution is rather qualitative than quantitative.

The main findings of the evaluation are that, facing a unique challenge, the Commission did its job properly. A number of the Commission activities were well received. "On the strategic side, the Commission:

* Established the communication framework,

* Drew attention at an early stage to key issues for the campaign, and

* Organised exchange of information and dissemination of good practice.

On the operational side, the Commission:

* Provided materials and technical support for the media and specialised audiences,

* Supplied basic information for the general public,

* Participated in implementation of national communication plans, and

* Sought to ensure consistency.

It did this through:

* Partnership agreements on the co-financing of Member States campaigns,

* Direct action,

* Funding projects run by civil society organisation."

Finally, the evaluation proposed a series of recommendations (58), of which 20 are strategic and 38 are on general management issues. Regarding this communication "on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and the EMU", the recommendations can be classified into 5 groups:

* 31 % of the recommendation have to be discussed with the Member States and eventually included in the future Partnership agreements;

* 24 % of the recommendation are already in application;

* 19 % of the recommendation depend on decision to be taken at the Commission level;

* 17 % of the recommendation are not top priority and will be executed if the necessary budget and resources are available;

* 9 % of the recommendation are not realistic.

5.2. Actions envisaged and budget intervention arrangements

The actions envisaged concern: general information activities conducted in partnership with Member States, including a twinning programme between old and new Member States; partnership with business and civil society; networking, information relays and other natural partners; measurement, feedback; external information activities; and publications and other information products.

5.3. Methods of implementation

The objectives will be pursued through seven types of action:

- Partnership with the Member States

In the context of the Commission's communications of 2 July 2002 on an information and communication strategy for the European Union (COM(2002)350 final) and of 20 April 2004 on implementing the information and communication strategy for the European Union (COM(2004)196 final); and with reference to the provisions of the new Financial Regulation, the implementation of information and communication activities vie the Member States is based on a partnership between the Commission and the Member States.

Three types of partnership can be considered:

1) Management partnership: a system implemented through indirect centralised management which devolves, via a Commission decision, the management of information activities onto the Member States.

2) Ad hoc partnership: consists simply in the cofinancing of specific measures carried out by the Member States, which are the final beneficiaries of grants (awarded on the basis of a Commission decision [11]) and not intermediaries in the implementation of the strategy. This option allows a framework agreement (flanked by specific agreements) to be concluded for a four-year period.

[11] Intended to validate the de jure or de facto monopoly of the grant beneficiary (Member State) according to the action envisaged

3) Strategic partnership: measures are financed separately but complementarily on the basis of a joint communication plan.

- Twinning programme between old and new Member States, as being part of the Partnership with the Member States

In the context of this twinning programme, old Member States will help new Member States on the design and implementation of their information and communication strategy, by the dissemination of their own useful experience and best practices.

- Networking, information relays and other natural partners

The information relays and networks from the Commission and from the Member States are close to civil society, and therefore particularly useful for the implementation of the information and communication campaign on the EMU and the euro.

Besides a number of other no-direct-cost activities (such as "Maintenance of Internet homepage and launch of a new section"), we plan to circulate publications stands and exhibitions in public events; to organise a conference on the EMU and the euro; and to organise a seminar and meetings with the Directors of Communication of Ministries of Finance and Central Banks of the Member States.

Special attention will be given to relations with the media and journalists to encourage balanced reporting of EMU/euro activities in the press and broadcast media in the EU and in third countries. Therefore, information seminars for economic journalists will be organised.

As far as working relations with business and civil society and with the media are concerned, even if the Commission's primary partnership should be formed at Member State level, there is room for complementarities and the Commission can contribute directly or indirectly to the activities of these sectors.

- Measurement, monitoring and feedback

Regular surveys on a country-by-country basis are essential to define the scope, messages and values of the communication, and to assess the consequent impact of the campaign and its constituent activities. Several surveys, both qualitative and quantitative, will be carried out in order to assess the effectiveness of the activities, with a view their reorientation, when necessary.

The information generated from measurement, monitoring and feedback activities will also feed into the overall evaluation of the strategy that will take place in 2006.

- External information activities

The Commission has advanced plans to have a series of conferences and seminars particularly in the USA, Africa, Asia and Latin America targeted to institutional and opinion makers, as well as to media influencers, journalists and key media. The relations with the media will be intensified and a media monitoring programme will be organised in third countries.

- Publications and other information products

Besides specialised publications, the Commission will publish a newsletter in paper and electronic form and increase the number of PR and information material.

6. FINANCIAL IMPACT

6.1. Total financial impact for the operational part

6.1.1. Financial intervention

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6.1.2. Technical and administrative assistance and support expenditure

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6.2. Calculation of costs by measure envisaged for 2004

Commitments:

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7. IMPACT ON STAFF AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENDITURE

7.1. Impact on human resources

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The human resources requirements identified for the options described in point 5. are estimated as follows:

Activities // Human resources required

Partnership with the Member States: preparation of agreements in the context of the partnerships with the Member States and technical assistance for their implementation (including twinning programme between old and new Member States) // 1 AD

2 AST 1 /AST 11

Networking, information relays and other natural partners (including Partnership with business and civil society) // 1 AD

2 AST 1/AST 11

Measurement, feedback // 1 AD

0.5 AST 1/AST 11

External information activities // 1 AD

1 AST 1/AST 11

Publications and other information products // 1 AD

1.5 AST 1/AST 11

7.2. Overall financial impact of human resources

No financial impact on human resources in 2004-2006.

7.3. Other administrative expenditure deriving from the action

The needs for human and administrative resources shall be covered within the allocation granted to the managing DG in the framework of the annual allocation procedure.

8. FOLLOW-UP AND EVALUATION

8.1. Follow-up arrangements

For the partnerships with the Member States, as well as for the other communication actions described in point 5., all the activities are regularly monitored by the operational units in the Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs.

8.2. Arrangements and schedule for evaluation

In accordance with provision from the financial regulation [12] which states that "all programmes or activities shall then be the subject of an interim and/or ex post evaluation in terms of the human and financial resources allocated and the results obtained in order to verify that they were consistent with the objectives set", due evaluation of the information and communication strategy will be undertaken. This will be an external evaluation (after an open procedure call for tender) and will take place in the course of 2006, with full findings being available at the latest in the first quarter of 2007.

[12] Article 27 of the Financial Regulation and Article 21 of the Implementing Rules.

9. ANTI-FRAUD MEASURES

The provisions of the financial rules relating to implementation of the budget, with special reference to monitoring measures, will be put into effect.

As far as grants are concerned, the agreements concluded between the Commission and beneficiaries allow for on-the-spot checks by the Commission or the Court of Auditors and OLAF at the premises of the direct beneficiary of the Community grant and the eventuality of requiring documentary evidence for any expenditure made under such agreements for a period of five years following payment of the balance of the grant.

Grant beneficiaries are furthermore required to submit reports and financial statements, which are analysed from the point of view of content and eligibility of expenditure (which include a full summary statement of all expenses and income accounted for in the books of the beneficiary), bearing in mind the purpose of the Community funding.

It should be stressed that the checks carried out before payments are made will cover any objective evidence that the grant beneficiary can supply, such as the certification of financial documents.

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