Communicating and Raising EU Visibility – Guidance for External Actions

These official EU guidelines instruct partners in external actions on how to ensure proper visibility and strategic communication of the EU’s role. They cover the use of the EU emblem and funding statement, the conditions for co-branding and derogation and the requirements for strategic communication plans and activities. They provide a useful description of standard use of the EU’s visual identity and a step-by-step guide to formulating a strategic communications plan.

The guidelines are intended for partners implementing EU-funded external actions under the “Neighbourhood and the World” heading of the EU budget 2021-2027, which finances CFSP, among other instruments. They highlight and explain two aspects of the EU's communication: visibility and strategic communication. This document is particularly useful for establishing a strategic communication strategy and plan in line with the EU guidance.   

Visibility refers to the obligation of EU-funded projects to make the EU’s role clearly apparent by using the EU emblem and a funding statement in all communication materials and activities. Visibility requirements cover all manner of visual media including physical displays, digital media and publications. Visibility obligations may be derogated in exceptional situations, with prior EU authorisation, such as in unfavourable political environments and volatile contexts. 

Strategic communication refers to cases where the EU finances communication actions on selected political priorities as part of specific programmes and projects in order to demonstrate the EU’s role and impact through the external actions being funded. Recipients of EU funding may be requested or allowed to implement strategic communication activities for specific projects or programmes, with prior agreement from the relevant EU authority. The guidelines provide a list of eight elements that must be detailed in a strategic communication plan: narrative, objectives, audiences, approach, activities, impact measurement, risks and budget. They stress the importance of coordinated communication actions to ensure the proper presentation of EU activities. 

The guidelines clearly explain how to implement both aspects of communication, including the legal and contractual requirements, the practical tools and resources and the explanations of EU policies. 

Reference: European Commission (2022). Communicating and raising EU visibility – Guidance for external actions.


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