Club of Venice Seminar – Challenges for government communication in times of crisis: capacity building, delivering, interacting and inclusiveness

The Seminar on “Challenges for government communication in times of crisis: capacity building, delivering, interacting and inclusiveness” organised by the Club of Venice and Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU on 14 October 2022 was a great opportunity to discuss ways how governments and institutions are organised with regards to crisis management, integrating #crisiscommunication as a key component. A vast array of best practices of crisis management strategies and tools, and possibilities for cross-border cooperation at various levels was presented to an active audience of European public communicators in the astonishing setting of the Liechtenstein Palace.

A particular focus that triggered my interest as a passionate analyst of public engagement, was given on the issue of young people and citizens’ inclusion within the context of the European Year of Youth and implementation of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE). Participation of citizens, especially young people, in public deliberations and decision-making process of the European Union has been a long debate, probably dating back to the foundation of the European Community, and it is true that more recently the rapid advance of innovative and community-based communication has created certainly new incredible opportunities for engagement as well as challenges for public communicators such as the application and control of social media platforms algorythms, privacy, disinformation and a reduced attention spam of information consumers. Therefore, it was quite interesting to see and discuss the specifics of communication to different target groups and within different media and platforms while drawing practical lessons learnt from COFE events that have taken place so far.

As part of most of the recent Club of Venice meetings, the seminar also covered issues related to the communication of the European and global response to the war in Ukraine. This is a very important and current topic for which the Club is an extraordinary ambassador. Other parts of the seminar covered ways to communicate the implementation of the resilience and recovery plans for Europe following the economic consequences of the cornova virus pandemic and the current European recession and high inflation. As part of a wide-ranging response, the aim of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. This included analyses on how to communicate directly with citizens affected by rising energy prices and on how to ease the related tensions in the public opinion on major issues.

As it seems that Europe and most Western democracy are experiencing periods of high polarisation, the Club of Venice keeps offering extremely valuable opportunities to acquire important knowledge and skills that enable public communicators, and not only, to pursue their mandate at best. For this reason, I thank Secretary General Vincenzo Le Voci for his strenuous dedication and coordination of such a remarkable network of professionals.

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