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European Union: Public Relations

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that the criteria for the distribution of the UK’s portion of the fund to be allocated to public communication under the provisions of the documents Communicating Europe (COM (07) 568) and Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Communicating European Partnership (COM (07) 569) will include making the monies available in equal proportions to those for and those against European integration. (198698)

The Government’s position on Communicating Europe in Partnership was set out in our explanatory memorandum of 26 October 2007 and my subsequent letters to the European Scrutiny Committee of 6 December 2007 and 17 March 2008.

As these documents made clear, the purpose of Communicating Europe in Partnership is to improve the coherence, integration and effectiveness of the EU's communications efforts. EU funds will be disbursed in support of these objectives. The Government welcomes the concept of openness underlying the Commission’s proposals on Communicating Europe in Partnership. We also welcome the Commission's confirmation that proposals under Communicating Europe in Partnership will be developed through existing Commission funding.

As set out in my letter of 17 March to the chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, I can confirm that the European Commission's proposal for an Inter-Institutional Agreement under Communicating Europe in Partnership (Commission Document COM 569 2007) has been abandoned, following member state discussions at the Information Working Group in Brussels.