PRO.PR conference: KAS contribution on EU public diplomacy

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For the second time, the KAS Media Program South East Europe was part of the agenda of the biggest international PR conference in the region, PRO.PR. The event took place from 7th to 9th April in Tuheljske Toplice (Croatia). PRO.PR has been organised since 2003. Once a year, it gathers two hundred leading communication experts from all over Europe.

Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe

Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe

The Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, Christian Spahr, gave a speech about the public diplomacy challenges between South East Europe and the EU. He addressed the perception of the EU in the region in terms of its enlargement process.

Spahr underlined that citizens in many South East European countries are undecided about the advantages of EU accession: "The EU comes into view as too complicated and benefits of the membership are only visible for the future. The EU needs clearer and simpler messages in its communication with citizens in the Balkans." In regard to that, he emphasised on challenges in the political communication of the EU. "The EU must appear as a reliable partner to South East Europe and give security by intensive dialogue," Spahr said.

Moreover, he explained current trends influencing political communication. According to Spahr, the use of digital technology has increased rapidly in South East Europe and the trust of citizens in social media is higher compared to traditional media. "The main challenge for politicians and governments is to use effectively the new digital opportunities and to come up against fake news," Spahr concluded.

The KAS expert addressed also the perception of South East European countries in German media. He said that the governments in the region have an interest to be seen as professional partners on EU level: "They should find new narratives such as successful innovation, start-ups and cultural topics to present themselves in a new compelling way, apart from the typical problems related to political transformation."

A summary of the presentation of Christian Spahr is available here.

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Croatia, April 9, 2017