The App for chat – a first for the Commission

09/10/2014

In autumn 2014, ICF Mostra launches a custom-designed app for the Internal Market and Services Directorate General of the European Commission (DG MARKT) that enables the European Union to ‘chat’ – live – with its citizens and stakeholders around Europe. This software gem was proposed as a follow up to the successful Single Market Month that we organised the previous year. Through 84 online debates in 20 languages, citizens connected live with businesses, organisations, policymakers and EU leaders to discuss how to improve the Single Market, one of Europe’s greatest achievements.

What we did

Citizens and stakeholders in Europe tend to view communication with the EU as one way. They want more opportunities to interact with policymakers, and to have their say on important issues that shape their lives as Europeans. Our app enables the Commission to offer just that – the opportunity to conduct live debates on all sorts of topics with an audience across the EU. Thanks to a customised back-end, step-by-step illustrated User Guide, an on-site training session and technical assistance on the day, the Directorate General has complete autonomy in terms of choosing content for discussion and managing the debates. And users have the flexibility of tuning in via smartphones, mobile devices or tablets…

The beauty of the app lies in its simplicity – and there’s no limit to the number of participants. Our client announces the time, date and topic of the debate on the home page of their website. They also display the languages in which the chat will take place. Participants don’t need to register. They simply open a window online. Those with packed agendas can click to receive an alert nearer the debate date. Written questions can also be submitted ahead of the session to be answered by the EU live. And latecomers have no reason to lose out – they can submit a question to be answered online a few days after the debate has closed.

Who we reached

The first one hour live forum took place on 30 September. Citizens and EU officials enjoyed a lively discussion in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish on different aspects of the new EU legislation for mortgages and bank accounts. In fact, so many questions were received that the DG MARKT extended the session in response to the high level of interest! A ‘first’ for the Commission, this simply but highly effective app can be replicated for use by all sorts of clients to get closer to their public…

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/chat/index_en.htm

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