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November 18, 2005

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European Infopolitik: Developing EU Public Diplomacy

Philip Fiske de Gouveia, with Hester Plumridge

As European leaders contemplate how best to build on these foundations, Philip Fiske de Gouveia argues that it is time for EU policymakers to take public diplomacy and cultural relations more seriously. Public diplomacy – the activity by which governments seek to communicate and engage with foreign publics – ought to be a priority for EU institutions, but to date strategy and implementation have been disjointed. Thinking employed in the design of the cultural aspects of the EuroMed partnership ought now to be applied to EU engagement with all third-countries.
The fact is that the European Union has enormous public diplomacy potential – the combined ‘infopolitik’ might of the 25 EU member states and the Commission is formidable. It is true that political and administrative obstacles to a unified and integrated EU public diplomacy remain but policymakers can, and should, work to remove such obstacles. An invigorated public diplomacy – including greater co-operative initiatives between member states – has much to offer the Union in its approach to a host of issues including relations with the USA and China, accession negotiations with Turkey, and the effective
management of migration into the EU.

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