The 41st INIO meeting in Helsinki

The Informal Network of Information Ofiicers (INIO) holds its 41st meeting in Helsinki on 4 and 5 June 2015.

What is the Network?

The informal Network of ESF information officers was set up by the ESF information sector in 1995 as part of the Commission's information and communication strategy for the Social Fund. Its current legal base is Article 117 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 .

Who is in the Network?

The Network brings together those dealing with communication within national ESF administrations and et European level. National members vary: some are full-time ESF information officers, others spokespeople or press officers for national ministries, other ESF policy staff who have been given information as an additional task, but all are involved in some way or another in publicising and informing people about the Fund. Up to two representatives from each Member State, nominated by the competent national body, attend the Network meetings.

What does it do?

The Network has a twofold aim:

  • To enhance the visibility of the Fund by exchanging ideas and best practice. To allow Member States and the Commission to compare information approaches, outputs and techniques and to learn from each other's successes, failures and problems experienced along the way.
  • To guide Member States in the implementation of the rules on Structural Funds information and communication measures. The Regulation obliges Member States to establish, carry out and evaluate a communication strategy for each Structural Fund programme.

Development of the Network

The Network has held 40 meetings in the past 20 years. Until 2008, meetings were mostly held in Brussels but recently, delegates have helped to organise meetings in various Member States. Meetings have allowed members to exchange ideas and experience on information outputs, products, events, web sites and to discuss ways of dealing with problems they encounter in publicising the ESF, for example, how to counter negative media coverage.

The Network meetings also allow the Commission to present its views on the implementation of the Information and Publicity Regulation and also to keep the members up to date on the latest policy developments in the Fund and in the Employment Strategy. The Network can also play a key role in organising events such as the ESF Congress in Birmingham in 1998, when members were a key contact point for the Commission in organising delegations, exhibition material and press contacts or more recently with events for "Youth on the Move" or "European Year" campaigns.

In the past couple of years a project visit has been organised in each visited Member State, giving the opportunity to see an example of the use of the ESF in that country and discuss some of the communication practices linked to a particular project.