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Promoting the European Union- Comparative analysis of EU communication strategies in Finland and in  - 11.06.2008
Comparative study presented by Chiara Valentini

Jyväskylä, Finland, 16.02.2008.

EUPRERA Member Chiara Valentini presented the result of her comparative study on “Promoting the European Union- Comparative analysis of EU communication strategies in Finland and in Italy”. Supervisors of the study were Emeritus professor Jaakko Lehtonen and professor Marita Vos of the Department of Communication. Opponent was professor Frank Thevissen of the Free University of Brussels (Belgium).

The aim of this study was to analyse how the European Union communicated with its different publics in two EU member states during the period 2001 – 2006.  Specifically, the European Commission and its national representations and local offices in Finland and in Italy were studied in order to verify the possible impacts of EU communication activities on citizens’ involvement in EU matters and support for the EU project.

The results of this investigation show a similar trend in Finland and in Italy for EU communication strategies during the period 2001 and 2006. The two countries, which differ for their historical relations with the EU, for their geographical position, culture and economy, applied similar communication strategies for developing specific EU activities and communication actions at the national level, Chiara Valentini said.

Valentini discovered that the claims of decentralisation of tasks and functions made in EU policies on information and communication of the period 2001- 2006 were not completely realised in terms of local involvement in communication decisions. The effects of these policies on improving citizens’ EU perceptions and on building a positive EU image and trust were pretty low, and national journalists’ opinions on EU interest in establishing mutual and beneficial media relations scored very poor in both countries.

Valentini’s findings also show that no significant differences were visible between the communication strategies implemented in Finland with those implemented in Italy, whereas the responses of Finnish and Italian publics to the activities and actions developed in their respective countries were substantially diverse. Public opinion in Italy was more favourable to EU actions than public opinion in Finland.

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