Four press trips to the Western Balkans with different groups of journalists were organised by ICF Mostra on behalf of the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR). ICF Mostra prepared the trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for 14 journalists (27-30 May) and the trip to Pristina, Kosovo for 15 journalists (10-13 June). These were the final press trips in a series which also led us to Albania and Serbia last November.
ICF Mostra planned the press trips from start to finish by identifying and inviting journalists, creating press packs, and scheduling a number of meetings in each country to encourage debate. We worked closely with DG NEAR and the EU Delegation, or EU Office, in each country to develop the programme and make sure the trip ran smoothly. One person from our team joined the client, local partners, interpreters and journalists on each trip to coordinate daily activities and interviews.
The journalists came from fifteen countries, most of them Enlargement critical EU-countries, representing media such as the Le Monde, L’Express and Radio France International (FR), Die Zeit, Deutschlandradio and ARD (DE), La Vanguardia, EFE and El Pais (ES), La Rebubblica, Rai I and Radio 24 (IT), De Volkskrant (NL), PAP and TVP (PL) to name but a few.
Our objective was to stimulate national coverage so that EU citizens better understand the enlargement process and the candidate countries. During this trip, the invited journalists gained a thorough and informed understanding of the status quo in each country and the many areas in which the EU has identified the need for reforms. Q&A sessions took place with local EU representatives, national high-level government representatives, opposition leaders, local business representatives, media organisation and minority group representatives. Journalists were able to delve into fundamental rights and country-specific issues with a President, Prime Minister, and Minister for EU Integration, Economy and Justice, and the Serb-orthodox Kosovan Father Sava, to name just a few. Thanks to ICF Mostra’s local partners and interpreters, journalists were also able to arrange interviews with ordinary citizens according to their individual needs.
Friendships were formed and networks established during the trips, and the first national media reports have been published. A few of the first articles can be found below: