Perceptions of the EU in the Arab world

The European Union Action Plan on Strategic Communication presented in June 2015, on the basis of the mandate from the European Council of March 2015, even though focused on the EU’s eastern neighbourhood, provides an indication of the EU’s broader objectives. The strategy recognised the importance of outreach and engagement as a tool in furthering the EU’s overall policy goals, and highlighted the need to develop positive and effective messages regarding EU policies towards its neighbourhood. The overarching objectives of the strategy, also of relevance in the southern neighbourhood, have been defined as follows: effective communication and promotion of EU policies and values, strengthening of the overall media environment, and increased public awareness of disinformation activities by external actors; and improved EU capacity to anticipate and respond to such activities. Consequently, key common areas of action for the eastern and southern neighbourhood include public diplomacy; communication activities on EU-funded programmes and activities; capacity-building for journalists and media actors; and engagement with civil society.