EU seeks to boost China links with agency hunt

By John Owens, prweek.com, Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:00AM

The European Union has kicked off a multi-million-pound PR hunt to help improve its relationship with China and increase its clout on the global stage.

Closer ties: German chancellor Merkel with China premier Jiabao (Credit: Getty Images)

Closer ties: German chancellor Merkel with China premier Jiabao (Credit: Getty Images)

The body has kicked off a tender process worth more than £3.8m, aimed at deepening the ‘political, economic and cultural’ links between the two regions.

The pre-tender document seen by PRWeek reveals that the EU is looking for a ‘more assertive’ promotion of its values and policies, as well as highlighting its importance as a partner and making it more relevant as a global player.
More details of the tender will emerge next month.

The successful agency will provide PR expertise on areas including marketing, branding, event management and social media.

The move comes after trade between China and the EU suffered its first ann-ual drop in three years in 2012, falling 3.7 per cent to just over £346bn.

Leading EU trade officials met a delegation from China’s ministry of commerce last week in an attempt to find a compromise on a range of iss-ues, including tensions over the price of Chinese telecoms companies’ exports to Europe.

Last month, Peter Mandelson, who spent four years as Britain’s EU trade commissioner, warned the EU against showing ‘more militancy’towards China.

China’s premier Wen Jiabao is expected to hand over to Li Keqiang this year after a decade in the role.

Separately, The Daily Telegraph claimed last week that work on building the image of the EU within member states was also taking place ahead of and during European elections in June 2014.

Its media analysis budget is set to rise by £1.7m, it claimed, with a particular focus on countries that had seen a rise in euroscepticism.

An increase in spending on promoting the EU as a coherent whole rather than through its member states was much needed, according to one high-level agency PRO, who added that the overall EU comms spend was ‘pathetic.’

An EU spokesman declined to comment on the China tender.

This article was first published on prweek.com

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