Editors in European capitals are increasingly interested in the EU’s role as a global player but still insist on giving a ‘national angle’ to news reporting in order to give EU affairs a ‘human face’, EURACTIV heard at its annual conference earlier this month.
The results of the EURACTIV Media Survey 2007 were presented at its conference on the role played by national stakeholders in involving citizens in EU policy debates on 8 November.
Considered Europe’s most important media hub, Brussels boasts the largest press corps in the world, with the Belgian capital home to over a thousand journalists covering EU issues.
At the conference, media representatives spoke about how they cover EU affairs in their organisations, and revealed the priorities behind the selection of particular stories.
The survey suggested that as the global importance and the EU’s competence in policy areas such as energy, climate change and the environment continues to grow, so does the necessity for journalists to cover these topics.
But the EU is a complex matter for journalists to cover as decision-making involves 27 member states with often conflicting views, an EU Parliament composed of 785 MEPS and a myriad of stakeholders which seek to influence policy decisions: businesses, NGOs and citizens’ organisations.
All this helps to explain why the EU finds it difficult to ‘speak with one voice’ and get its message across to citizens. Recently, Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström tried to address this by launching an initiative to ‘Communicate Europe in Partnership‘. The plan seeks to foster greater cooperation between Brussels-based EU institutions and national governments in communicating EU policies to citizens.