The European Parliament has identified ‘celebrities’ across Europe as being key to promoting the next EU elections, EURACTIV has learned from a note the Parliament’s bureau is set to approve next Monday (11 September).
Celebrities are among the ‘multipliers’ to reach, according to the Parliament’s 2024 European election communication strategy, in order to “create a movement for democracy amongst targeted celebrity industries”, inviting “famous” people to spread messages on the importance of going to vote.
Other multipliers include journalists, civil society organisations, businesses and the other EU institutions.
The EUR37 million communication strategy, designed to reach EU citizens, will also set up an online platform before the end of 2023 in a bid to make people more informed about the EU elections, and will make YouTube videos in a bid to combat disinformation.
In the meantime, the Parliament will try to engage citizens in organising events in Brussels and in member states, using its liaison offices.
The main messages the European Parliament wants to spread are how the institution impacts citizens’ daily lives, why parliamentary democracy is an added value to society and why it is important to go to the polls.
“If citizens are to engage for European parliamentary democracy, they must first understand its added-value and its power to affect their lives,” the paper states, adding that the Parliament’s communications officials would “promote the institution’s legislative and scrutiny work so intensely, with a specific boost throughout 2023 through the so-called ‘Delivery phase'”.
The ‘Delivery phase’, which has been ongoing since January 2023, has so far resulted in 11,000 journalists attending briefings and almost 600 journalists being invited to cover the plenary sessions in Strasbourg since January, the paper adds.
The Parliament also offered its support to MEPs and assistants to better communicate during the elections, with training and providing toolkits.
Despite the Parliament being in daily communication with political groups on the matter, the groups are legally forbidden from campaigning in the six months prior to elections, because most of the campaigns are managed by European political parties and national ones.
In the last two months before the elections, the Parliament will concentrate its effort on the “go to vote” campaign, hiring a commercial agency to implement this strategy.
Ads inviting EU citizens to vote will be deployed in free spaces, as well as on TV channels, media and cinemas, as also happened during the 2019 campaign.
Although voter turnout increased to 50% in the 2019 European elections, the Parliament is anxious to increase public participation in the polls.
The latest polling by Eurobarometer suggests that turnout could increase. A pan-EU poll of 26,000 people published in early June found that 67% said they would be likely to vote if the elections were held next week, compared to 58% in April 2018.
Meanwhile, 56% are interested in the next European elections, 6 points higher compared with the last such survey in 2018, a year before the last European elections. The elections will be held between 6 and 9 June next year.
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