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International Public Relations in the EU: communication and public opinion on development cooperation

Victor Negrescu
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
Victor Negrescu
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
Open Panel

Abstract

Development aid has become in the last few years a key issue in the EU foreign policy being pushed forward by the increasingly constructed awareness of the Europeans on their role in the world. Even if ten years ago it would have been difficult to think about a common European policy on the developing countries because of the different perspectives and interests, it becomes more and more necessary for the EU states and institutions to try to build a common cooperation for development policy. This new reality is in fact determined by the increasing support that development aid benefits all over Europe even if the economical and social struggles of the common European citizen should have made him more self-centered. In fact if we look at the European opinion pools we see almost the same levels of supports independent of the economical development of the EU states: for example 89% of the Slovakians and 82% of the French and Romanians believe that development aid is a very important issue. Furthermore we see building all over Europe more and more NGOs supporting development cooperation that are building national and European wide networks to try to promote even more the aid issues. Today some are even talking about a development civil society with their own media, objectives, meetings and perspective on the social role of NGOs. Our paper will try to have a European wide perspective on the construction of the development aid issue and show the common as well as the different features existing in Europe. The objective is to see if we can talk about a common international agenda-setting campaign and determine the communication framework on which it has been built.