Vienna, 15 September 2005 Press release

Plassnik: “Starting a dialogue with the citizen“


Presentation of the EU information campaign and the logo for the Austrian EU Presidency

Vienna, 15 September 2005 - "I am making you an outright offer", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today in the introduction to her presentation of the European information campaign and the logo of the Austrian EU Presidency. "We would like to start a dialogue with you about Europe and what we want our Europe to be like".

Analyses of public opinion clearly show that the citizens want to participate in Europe that Europeans want to express their ideas and want them to become part of the political process. Since the last European summit in June the Federal Government had been particularly concerned with the question of how this offer of a dialogue could be implemented in Austria.

As a result, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had conceived the "Europe is listening" initiative, said Plassnik. "Each individual who is interested in addressing the subject of Europe may obtain information on the internet or by telephone and personally tell us their concerns, hopes and ideas. With this initiative we would like to show that there should not be a distance between the citizens and Europe", added Plassnik.

Sometimes the advantages of the EU were simply taken for granted. This awareness would have to be re-strengthened. "In this context we have come up with quite a number of ideas", said the Foreign Minister. "With the information campaign about the EU, which will start tomorrow, we aim to re-establish confidence in the European project by inviting the citizens to contribute, and by all means also to voice their criticisms and reservations. On the other hand we would also like to make clearly visible the added value the EU brings every single one of us every day."

The logo of the Presidency and the information campaign were developed in close cooperation between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Federal Chancellery.

The key parameters of the information campaign, which will last from the middle of September until the end of the Austrian Presidency, are as follows:
- As of 16 September, two different TV spots will be broadcast for several weeks. Under the slogan "Europe listens" the web address and the number of the Europe hotline 0800221111 will also be inserted to enable a direct dialogue.
- From the beginning of November, 2000 posters will show the added value of the EU throughout Austria.
- The website is an integral part of the campaign. All available technical means are being utilised to involve users in the campaign. At the press conference, Josef Mayerhofer of the company Palla Koblinger proximity introduced the website and its interactive aspects.
- In a road show organised together with the Economic Chamber and the Association of Industrialists, a "Europe Bus" will tour Austria, taking the EU to the citizens.

Plassnik also presented the logo of the Austrian EU Presidency: "Europe is colourfulness and variety. This European attitude to life is something we also want to express visually", said Plassnik. The bar code developed by the Dutch designer Rem Koolhaas and his OMA thinktank (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) combined the flags of the 25 EU member states into one colourful symbol. "The Austrian EU Presidency 2006 will mark the first official application of the bar code", continued the Foreign Minister.

At the press conference, Reinier de Graaf, representing Rem Koolhaas, talked about the history of the logo, explaining that the bar code was a visual translation firmly establishing Austria in the colourful and diverse European context while maintaining her own unique identity.