Services for the EU institutions - references

Services for Technical Assistance in the management of the EUROPE DIRECT Info Networks

The College of Europe has concluded a framework contract with the European Commission to provide a variety of technical assistance services to support the Directorate General Communication in the management of the EUROPE DIRECT Information Network in the 27 EU Member States. The first year of services started at the end of 2005 and the contract is yearly renewable till 2010.

THE EUROPE DIRECT NETWORK

The overall objective of the EUROPE DIRECT Network is to inform the EU citizens about the European Union and to help the Directorate General Communication spread EU information in the Member States and adapt this information to the needs and concerns of the citizens at the national and local level.

The Network includes the ED Information Relays addressing the general public, the European Documentation Centres based at universities, and the Team Europe experts, who are conference speakers about the EU. The three components of the Network are coordinated by DG COMM in close cooperation with the Representations of the Commission in the Member States. They include a total number of 1669 Network members (on 1 March 2007), with 726 Team Europe speakers, 569 Relays, and 374 European Documentation Centres.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE COLLEGE OF EUROPE

The assistance provided by the Development Office of the College of Europe as part of the EUROPE DIRECT Helpdesk consists of information and training services, as well as a more general support in the management of the Network’s activities.

Information services

The Development Office of the College produces two information tools for the Network. A monthly e-Newsletter aims to be a real networking instrument as it focuses mainly on news from the Network, while also providing ready-to-use information on EU Policies and on the EU institutions. (The ED Newsletter is available on the public website of EUROPE DIRECT at www.europa.eu/europedirect)

A specialised info-dossier, produced every 6 months, provides a complete report on a specific EU policy.

Related services involve regular news updates on the Network’s Intranet site, as well as an online Question and Answer service through which the members can receive answers to their questions about EU policies and documents, as well as about the services provided to them.

Training seminars and meetings

Building on more than 10 years of experience in professional training, the Development Office supports DG COMM in designing and organising different types of training seminars for the whole or for parts of the Network. Each year about 500 members of the Network participate in those seminars to learn about the latest developments of various EU policies, to enhance their communication skills thanks to the expertise of professionals in journalism and communication, an to practice these skills with their fellow participants.

Furthermore, the Development Office of the College is involved in the organisation of the Annual General Meetings of the Network. Those take place in the Member States and gather the Network for a few days of discussions about their work and of sharing of ideas and best practices.

General support to the ED Network

The Development Office of the College also supports the Network with the organisation of an exchange programme and with the management of the content of the Intranet site. It supports the organisation of events and projects. Via an online reporting mechanism, the Development Office of the College assists the European Commission in maintaining a complete overview of all the activities of the EUROPE DIRECT Network.