Public diplomacy at EU level might be defined as "understanding, informing and influencing EU publics in promotion of the national interests as well as broadening the dialogue between a foreign country and the EU instutions".

Public diplomacy deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies. It encompasses dimensions of international relations beyond traditional diplomacy: the cultivation by governments of public opinion in other countries; the interaction of private groups and interests in one country with those of another; the reporting of foreign affairs and its impact on policy; communication between diplomats and foreign correspondents and the processes of intercultural communications.

In order to accomplish this, a Foreign Mission to the EU needs to explain and advocate the country's policies in terms that are credible and meaningful in Europe; provide information about the country its people, values and institutions; build lasting relationships and mutual understanding through the exchange of people and ideas; and advise the country's decision-makers back home on EU attitudes and their implications for the country's policies.

Small nations need public policy programmes, just as major powers do. The task for the smaller powers is to be heard on the stories that matter to them, to explain their positions and aspirations during the non-crisis moments, and to do so in a way that captures attention. Today the multipolar world means that major and smaller powers both find themselves in new relationships and collaborations with other nations.

The good news is that governments are engaging more and more in public diplomacy and openness, or transparency is becoming a more common attribute of governments, businesses and international organisations. Successful leaders in international endeavours are getting themselves more adept at using the tools of Public Diplomacy to gain support for their positions. Indeed, Public Diplomacy is no longer a job for certain specialists, like Press Attachés and Cultural Attachés. Nearly everybody in an embassy is getting engaged in Public Diplomacy, especially the Ambassador and other senior officers.

Add new comment