FCO launches new EU website, May 2006

Author (Person)
Series Title
Publication Date 2006
Content Type

Prior to the UK Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of the local government elections, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s new EU information website was opened by the then Minster for Europe, Douglas Alexander. The site at {http://www.europe.gov.uk} aims to provide straightforward factual information about the EU to inform the public and stimulate debate. It also gives the UK perspective on EU policy. Though there was some delay in updating the new site following the Cabinet changes, the new Europe Minister is now listed correctly as Geoff Hoon. Overall the site layout is straightforward and attractive with clear navigation headings on the left of the screen. The centre block contains brief snippets of information with links for further information, and the right hand side of the screen provides links or more substantial documents to give in depth content.

The “Quick guide to the EU” section provides brief background information about the EU is, what it does and how it works. It also addresses the issue of the costs to the UK of membership. The “EU and Me” section is aimed at businesses and individuals and covers working, living and studying in the EU as well as how to contribute to the debate about Europe. The “Future of Europe” picks up on key issues such as enlargement, economic reform and globalisation, while other areas are covered in the “Policies” section. Under “News and Resources” are speeches and publications as well as news and other links. The FCO’s useful brief pamphlet Guide to the European Union can be found here along with the more substantial document Prospects for the European Union in 2006 and retrospective of the UK’s Presidency of the EU, 1 July to 31 December 2005. (TSO, 2006. Cm.6735) “Common questions” deals with the euro and the constitution amongst other things, and finally the “EU terms explained” section has a useful collection of definitions.

Provided that the site is regularly updated it should be a useful source for answering enquiries. It does present the UK government’s agenda on Europe but also addresses many of the key questions that the UK public put. The information is presented in a way that does not immediately overwhelm users of the site but leads to a deeper layer of detail if required.

Countries / Regions