On the first day, the spokespersons?? received a briefing about current developments such as the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence, new structures (Military Planning and Conduct Capability, PRISM) and new communication strategies/policies. The discussions left enough room for sharing good practices between the spokespersons.
An interesting detail was highlighted by one mission representative, who stated that 'print media' were not necessarily a good means of delivering messages, in particular when the illiteracy rate is by 80 % or higher. Sometimes, it is more important to focus on radio or TV, but this means you have to know the local language(s) and the local traditions.
The second day was dedicated to a workshop, in which the spokespersons were tasked with developing two PR campaigns for audiences within the mission area as well as for EU citizens. The results were assessed by communication experts from the EU institutions with mission experience.
The Press and Public Information seminar is a good opportunity for various CSDP missions and operations to meet and network. It facilitates the contact between the theatre and the Brussels- based units dealing with crisis management. In addition, the seminar is conducted back to back with the EU Open Day and it therefore helps to organise this major PR event in Brussels.
Background: The Press and Public Information course/seminar was introduced into the academic programme of the European Security and Defence College by Austria in 2006. Since then, Ireland and Slovenia have hosted events for this very important target group. From 2015 onwards, the Strategic Communication Division of the European External Action Service provides the hosting function for this kind of ESDC training activity.