Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:55

Macro-regional communications with a joint view

Written by  Kirsi Ahlman

I had a great privilege to travel to sunny Slovenia last month to take part in “EU Macroregional Strategies Conference on Media and Communication – Know Thy Neighbour”. The event was about exchanging experiences, learning from good practices and discussing how to improve the visibility of the EU macro-regional strategies (MRS). Participants were representatives of media, journalists, communication experts, academia and interested stakeholders. Can you imagine that this was the first time that communication people from all four macro-regional strategies met to discuss their work!



The common challenge

Have you ever struggled with nailing down a relevant message to better address a target group? How about in trying to find the most effective tools to reach the right people? Well, I can admit that I have. And it was a relief to hear that colleagues around EU struggle with same things. Since communicating (macro-) regional cooperation is a complex task, we definitely could learn from each other and be inspired by different ways of thinking and doing things.

Awareness raising, Increasing knowledge and Changing attitude are all stages of communication. When thinking about EU macro-regional strategies from this angle, it is safe to say that these strategies are not all on the same stage. However, despite the differences in “age” and stages, it was interesting to notice that strengthening internal communication capacity of key stakeholders is in the center of communications in all four MRSs. In EUSBSR context this means the communication between European Commission, National Coordinators, Policy Areas, Horizontal Actions, Focal points and Flagships. This is something that we try to support and encourage in Let´s communicate! project.


The leap forward

Already last year 2016 Slovenia made a proposal to create a single horizontal pillar for all four MRS’s – "the media/communication" pillar. The pillar would help create sufficient visibility for macro-regional strategies' joint endeavours and understanding, and support the exchange on ways of thinking and acting within the macro-regions.

By the end of the conference we came to the conclusion that we want to take further efforts to improve the visibility of MRSs and start to cooperate together. In practice, at first at least, this means keeping in touch and sharing ideas and progress of our work.

The official recommendations from the conference stated that creation of single horizontal pillar for all four EU macro-regional strategies on media and communication is worth a try. We could share contents and develop innovative communication tools and use participative process in doing so. The question remains who could be the forerunner and rise up for the challenge in coordinating all this. We should now agree on the right things to do and how to do those things right. This conference was the much needed first step!


*More about the event and presentations can be found here.

Kirsi Ahlman is the Project Manager of the "Let's communicate!" project that functions as the communication point of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

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