Communicating Europe

You need a strategic communication policy

You need a strategic communication policy

There is an interesting op ed article in today’s Financial Times about the Afghanistan conflict by Alastair Campbell. He’s a controversial figure, and some would surely accuse him of being daring or even worse for publishing such an article on such a subject so soon after his evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, but he nevertheless makes a compelling case. His basic argument is that whilst soldiers can win wars, ‘failure in the battle for hearts and minds can lose them.’ He draws three lessons from the Iraq conflict: first, take strategic communications seriously; second, ‘in a multinational alliance, you have to internationalise communications so that key aims can be communicated across… political systems’; third, ‘there is a need for a constant focus on the strategy and security reason for (the war)’ – ‘the arguments have to be put out there consistently’. Campbell is writing about Afghanistan but I can’t help but feel that his arguments apply just as much to the European Union. In that context, has anybody seen the EU’s communication policy? It was there all right, but it seems suddenly to have disappeared. Wherever it has gone, the need for it surely remains as strong as ever.

2 Comments

  1. I had the same reaction that such reasoning could be appropriate for the EU when reading the Campbell piece yesterday and was therefore delighted to be able to piggy back an evening tweet on this post.

    This has now generated an interesting articulation of the issue by Michael Malherbe here: http://www.lacomeuropeenne.com/index.php?2010/01/22/525-faut-il-un-commissaire-europeen-a-la-communication

    Makes you wonder if, absent a dedicated Commissioner, Alastair, who may well be looking for new challenges come the summer, shouldn’t be offered a role to ensure that DG COMM remains “in the thick of it”…

  2. Martin

    22/01/2010 at 19:17

    If he fought as feistily for Europe as he fought for new Labour and the government, then why not?

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