EuropeDirect is an initiative of the European Commission with the aim to provide European citizens with general information on the European Union.
Since 2004, under the Presidency of José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission had been involved in different scandals and allegations of opacity and lack of independence and effectiveness.
Among the different actions created to eliminate these practices and perceptions, the concept of “EuropeDirect” was raised. The idea was to create and implement procedures so that the citizens could have much closer contact and knowledge on the activities of the European Commission.
Later, the European Commission developed the concept of EDIC (European Direct Information Centres) rolling over European Commission walk-in offices across the main cities in Europe to achieve their goal to be closer to the citizens and be more useful and transparent.
EuropeDirect includes the Europe Direct Information Centres (short: EDI or EDIC), the European Documentation Centre (EDC) and the EU Team Europe speakers bureau. The network was created in 2005 and restructured in February 2009.
EuropeDirect aims to provide accessible, user-friendly information to EU citizens about their rights and opportunities, to work to answer questions on all matters related to the EU’s priorities and activities and to direct citizens to useful sources of information and advice.
EuropeDirect can be contacted with regards to EU funding and study programmes, information about local EU information and networking events, and for contact details of relevant organisations. It also provides free EU publications, factsheets and reports on specific EU policies as well as a physical space for EU-related research.
In 2008, the European Marketing Confederation (EMC) was approached to provide marketing expertise on how best to communicate this new service to the general public as well as to the partners/collaborators at a national level in each EU country member.
As International Projects’ Manager at the organisation, I was involved in the project “EuropeDirect” as a liaison between the expert teams at the national marketing associations in each country and the team at the European Commission.
My role was mostly as project manager (coordinator) albeit it also included several sessions as an advisor for defining the best strategies, from the marketing perspective, for its success.
Currently, as of 2020, European Direct Information Centres are present in 500+ cities across Europe.