The Commission’s front page increasingly puts non-specialist, general information on the EU and communication at the core of the Europa web site, which is now hosting almost all the Commission’s official published content.
The Commission says the goal behind hosting all content under the same internet domain is “to provide a common view of our information to the external world and to avoid overlaps”.
The Europa server has now grown to more than 4 million hosted pages and documents plus 76 databases that generate web pages dynamically. Almost 1.8 billion pageviews were recorded in 2005, about 17 times as many as in 1998, when statistics started. To help this growing amount of users find their way through the growing amount of information available on Europa, the website is increasingly organised around about 30 thematic or activity portals, which supplement the traditional grouping by Directorates General.
The Europa portal, which was launched in its present form in early 2003, is central to the Commission’s new communication strategy. While 106 out of 110 links within the Commission’s institutional portal point to web addresses within the europa.eu.int domain (the remaining four point to the Council Presidency and to Eurostat), the Europa portal links (under the “Institutions” and “Documents” tabs) to other EU bodies just as well as to the Commission itself. The portal thus meets the requirement of looking at the EU as a whole.
What is perhaps even more remarkable about the Europa portal is the presence and prominent display, at the very top of the Europa hierarchy, of features such as the Easy Reading Corner, The EU at a glance or Europa Go!, which are aimed at non-specialists. While these pages do contain some information, they are more about the second and latest big priority of Europa: communication.
These parts of the web page aim not so much at providing the large, yet hermetic cycle of EU specialists with ever more specialised and detailed knowledge of the EU, but rather at convincing people with only an intermediate knowledge of the how the EU works and the activities of the benefits of the Union. This concept was laid out in the EU’s Communication Action Plan, as well as in Plan D and, most recently, in the White Paper on Communication.