EU Goes Corporate_Marie Trevisan
Communication has for a long time been the scapegoat of governments, institutions and organisations for explaining their failure to get the support of their audiences. Many observations on the European Union institutions have identified short-comings related to their external communication strategies. The object of this thesis is the analysis of the organisational and strategic aspects of the EU communication policy. More precisely, the study looks at the European Commission and its corporate communication under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. At the time of writing this study, at the cross-road between the Junker Commission and the von der Leyen Commission, the aim of this thesis is threefold. From a theoretical point of view, it wishes to see whether the theories of corporate communication have a considerable role to play in the communication policy of a unique supra-national organisation such as the EU. From an empirical point of view, it seeks to analyse the use of corporate communication strategies by a governmental body such as the European Commission. From a practical point of view, it wishes to draw up recommendations that could possibly inform the communication policy of the future Commission. This thesis takes the form of a case study. Through the lens of corporate communication theory, it sought to analyse the strategy of corporate communication under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. The thesis followed a ‘multi-method’ approach for the gathering of empirical data, through semi-structured expert interviews, along with document analysis. From the analysis of the data, the results indicate that stakeholder centricity, a more unified branding, and the overall re-organisation of the communication function are the most apparent elements belonging to corporate communication practices. In the discussion section, the thesis identified issues and benefits of the corporate communication under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. First, there is a clear distinction between corporate communication and political communication which could lessen the communication impact of individual policies and their benefits to the EU citizens, caused by an over generalisation of what the European Union does. Second, there exists a confusion between the need to communicate as the European Commission or as the European Union. Third, there is a growing professionalisation of the communication function within the European Commission, which ultimately increases the effectiveness of its external communication efforts.