Can online communication strengthen the relationship of EU with young citizens in Finland?
Meriläinen, N., & Vos, M. (2010). Can online communication strengthen the relationship of EU with young citizens in Finland?. In Valentini, C. & Nesti, G. (ed.), Public Communication in the European Union: History, Perspectives and Challenges (pp. 317-334). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.c-s-p.org/Flyers/Public-Communication-in-the-European-Union...
© Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This is an author's final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the book 'Public Communication in the European Union' by CSP. Deposited into this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Introduction: In the last five years the EU has increased its authority on various issues, as well as its visibility. Nevertheless, the impact that the European Union (EU) has had on the lives of citizens in its Member States is often underestimated, and support towards its institutions has declined in recent years, especially among young people. The Eurobarometer survey of December 2005 (EB, 2005) made clear that only 55 percent of European youth aged between twenty and twenty-four years old thinks that in five years’ time they would like the EU to play a more important role in their lives. The same study indicated that only 40 percent of youth feel that their voice is heard in the EU. If the EU is unable to reach its younger audience, the distance between the youth and the EU will enlarge and in the future this segment of the public will have become estranged from EU institutions and activities. Communication, and particularly new media such as online communication, may play an essential role in narrowing the gap between the two parties. The European Commission has only in the last few years recognised the relevance of this new technology: the first clear acknowledgement came in 2006, when the European Commission, in the White Paper on a European Communication Policy (CEC, 2006a) and in the Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate (CEC, 2006b), stress the necessity of adopting new information and communication technologies as an integral part of the EU’s future communication strategies. This recognition indicates the willingness of the European Commission to consider the European youth as one of the important stakeholders for actions aimed at involving citizens in EU policy-making. This chapter deals with the communication flow between the EU and its young citizens, and how those young citizens utilise available online communication tools of the EU and citizen blogs. For this purpose we conducted a small online survey and individual follow-up interviews with the same respondents. The study took into consideration mainly young people of twenty to thirty years old in Finland and aimed to discover how young Finns perceive and utilise the online communication means designed by the EU. In addition we conducted a content analysis of online citizen blogs that concentrate on particular issues of EU policies. The central research question is: how does the EU employ online tools to communicate with young citizens, and to what extent are young people in Finland familiar with and utilising such online communication tools and citizen blogs to discuss EU policy matters? [Continues. Please see the article.] ...
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Is part of publicationPublic Communication in the European Union: History, Perspectives and Challenges. Edited by Valentini, C. & Nesti, G. ISBN 978-1-4438-1846-9