In 2004, the European Commission aiming to restructure the Politics of Information and Communicatio of the European Institutions,  launched an invitation  to set up European Information Centres, named  EUROPE DIRECT Centres, covering the period between 2005/2008.

Following this invitation, a Network of European Information Centres – EUROPE DIRECT- was established, substituting the Info-Points Europe and the Centres of European Information and Rural Animation  (Rural Carrefours), presenting a more balanced geographical distribution in order to ensure the widest coverage of the European Union territory.

July 2008 saw a renewal of the invitation to find facilities to welcome EUROPE DIRECT Centres, now covering the period between 2009/2012.

The EUROPE DIRECT Network works as the main tool for the European Commission to provide local citizens with information and supply the European Institutions with feedback.

The EUROPE DIRECT Information Centres part of the above mentioned Network, act as go-betweens of the citizens and the European Union on a local basis and, in its information scope, they take into account the information needs of both rural and urban communities.

They are funded by the Directorate General Communications of the European Commission and use the facilities provided by several institutions. They are a real threshold into the Union.

Network Mission
The Centres Mission is the promotion of an active and informed european citizenship made possible by:

  • enabling  local citizens to obtain information, advice, assistance and answers to questions about the European Union’s institutions, legislation, policies, programmes and funding opportunities;
  • making aware and promoting the debate through a cooperation approach in terms of pro-active communication with other institutions and information networks;
  • allowing  the European institutions to improve the dissemination of information tailored to local and regional needs;
  • providing the public with the opportunity to show reactions to the European Union institutions in the form of questions, opinions and suggestions.

Information Service
To achieve their goals the Centres should provide a comprehensive information service adapted to the local needs that will enable the public to get not only information but also advice, assistance and answers to questions about the European Union’s institutions, legislation, policies, programmes and funding opportunities. Thus, they will:

  • Provide the public with:
    • a question and answer service, including the forwarding to other specialized sources of information, using clearly indicated premisses with direct access, reception and exhibition areas, reading and viewing facilities, stock of information material and meeting rooms. The Centre will be open, at least, 20 hours a week;
    • access to the Web, printers, photocopies, video projector, etc;
    • information material supplied by the European Institutions.
  • Making the public aware of the:
    • EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre and respective services, through the website, email and the toll free number 0080067891011, accessible from the 27 Member States;
    • websites of the European Union Institutions and free access database; 
    • existence of other informtion networks and means of reaching European Institutions.
  •  Contribute to the local action of the European Commission through the:
    •  regular communication and participation in meetings, allowing the Representatives of the Commission to provide a better answer to local needs through the communication activities;
    •  assistance and monitoring of the local media and support in the organisation of local events indicated by the Representatives of the European Commission;

Communication and Awareness
According with its Yearly Action Plan, each Centre aims to promote and motivate an informed local debate on the goals, policies and programmes of the Union, organising debates and developing information products directed to:

  • the general public;
  • specific target-groups, namely institutional replicatorsand the local and regional media.