Europe Direct Networking of Partenalia’s members

Two Partenalia’s members, Virovitica-Podravina County (CROATIA) and Province of Liege (BELGIUM) have deepened their collaboration through the Europe Direct Information Centers networking. Representatives of Europe Direct Virovitica, Vedrana Mikić and Mateja Cah, have visited Europe Direct Liege on 23rd March 2015. Since Europe Direct Virovitica is a new EDIC, opened in October 2014, and Europe Direct Liege is more experienced, the meeting for exchange of good practice examples was held.

Representatives of Europe Direct Liege, Lara Galetić and Louis Van Keerberghen have briefly presented role and activities of their EDIC which is operating since 2010 and then discussion was opened. Thoughts about regular operation, staff, visitors, inquires and information, organization of activities and participation in activities, collaboration with medias, visibility, budget, intranet and communication with other EDICs or other networks and EU structures were exchanged. Meeting was very useful, especially for the new EDIC from Virovitica, and some new ideas for the center operation were born. The main conclusion is that the most important task in EDICs operation is to become known, to reach citizens and this can be done the easiest through different types of presentation and by participating in a lot of events, so that people can get in contact with EDIC and find out that they have someone who can help them in any question related to European Union.

In Belgium, which covers the area of more than 30.000 km2 and has more than 11 million inhabitants, there is totally 11 Europe Direct Information Centers. Europe Direct Liege covers the area of 3.844 km2 where a little more than 1 million inhabitants live. In Croatia, there is totally 13 EDICs, on the area of 56.542 km2. The whole Croatia has cca 4,25 milion inhabitants and Europe Direct Virovitica covers the area of 2.024 km2 where cca 85.000 inhabitants live. Thus, it may seem illogical, it makes since, because Belgium is in European Union for a long time, since it was one of the founders, while Croatia is still a new member (entered in July 2013) and Croatians citizens know less about European Union and they have many doubts and questions so the awareness of European Union and everything that it offers to citizens need to be raised and EDICs have the main role in that task.