CODES – Comprehending and Debating Euroscepticism – is a project combining research and public awareness building, co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union. The partner organisations are: Comenius University Bratislava (SK); EuroPolicy (SK); PROVIDUS (LV); Social Development Institute (HU); German Council on Foreign Relations (DE); The World of NGOs (AT); Capital Foundation (BG); and Fondation EURACTIV (BE).

The project develops the discussion with citizens on their perception of the EU membership and will ignite citizens’ thinking about the alternatives and possible negative consequences of the future without the EU. Our main aim is to raise awareness and recognition of the EU benefits among citizens, as our previous experience tells us the EU is often portrayed as a distant blaming figure for the bad policies, while the benefits remain unreported and under-discussed.

Through public debates, we will identify the sources of public Euroscepticism and fears as a prerequisite for it to be addressed in a meaningful way. Through roundtable-style workshops with local opinion makers, we will identify tools with the highest potential to present benefits of the EU in local environment.

The main project output will be INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY based on a bottom-up approach in communicating the EU. The outcomes and lessons learned in the project might be actively used in preparation of the European Parliament elections´ communication strategy. Thus, conclusions of the project will be presented to EU institutions and Member States ministries of EU affairs ahead of the campaign leading to EP elections in 2019.

Fondation EURACTIV organised on January 31st a workshop showcasing the results of the CODES project co-funded by “Europe for Citizens”. Local public debates gathering 400 participants were organised to identify sources of Euroscepticism (read the first findings here) and to develop a communication strategy based on local approaches in the run-up to the 2019 European Parliament’s elections, in which Eurosceptic parties could perform strongly.

This event gathered Benedek Jávor, MEP, Marjory van den Broeke, EP Head of Press Unit, and Luc Van den Brande, Special Adviser to J-C Juncker on “outreach towards citizens”. It was followed by a brainstorming session discussing solutions to engage and local media, democratic conventions, and how to combat “fake news”. You can watch here the video of the event:




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