Written Answers. - Communicating Europe.

John Deasy

Question:

36 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the operation of the Communicating Europe Task Force for the past two years. [15029/02]

The Communicating Europe Group (CEG) consists of representatives of the Departments of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs, Education and Science, the European Commission and European Parliament offices in Ireland, the European Movement and the Institute for European Affairs. The CEG is chaired by the Director General of the European Union Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In 2000, Communicating Europe had a budget of IR£115,000 €146,019.88. The CEG funded the development of an interactive CD-Rom entitled "Me, You and the EU", designed for secondary school transition year students. Funding for this project carried on into 2001 when the CD-Rom was released and distributed to schools. The CEG also sponsored regional consultation meetings on EU Enlargement and Institutional Reform organised by the European Movement in Ireland. Two media projects were also funded: the "Europe Week" radio programme broadcast information on local stations and the "Eurolink" newspaper series provided features to local and provincial newspapers.

In 2001, the Communicating Europe budget amounted to IR£140,000 €177,763.33. The CEG continued funding the Europe Week radio broadcasts. A series of television programmes, entitled "Eurofile", was broadcast on local cable television. The CEG also funded the development of a series of leaflets and booklets produced by the Institute for European Affairs. Funds were also contributed to a new interactive IT public information facility at the European Parliament Information Centre (EPIC).

The budget for 2002 is €180,000. This year, funding has again been allocated to the Eurofile television programme, and, funding will also be considered for a further media project. The CEG also mandated the Department of Foreign Affairs to undertake a tender process to select consultants for the preparation of a report on a comprehensive communications strategy aimed at improving the transmission of information on the EU to the public. The report will be completed in July. The Department is also currently consulting with a number of groups and representative organisations about producing general and group-specific information about the EU.