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Information and public support gain special importance in the context of the integration process of East-Central European countries. These considerations led the governments of the candidate countries to such a conclusion that in addition to the "real processes" of the accession (fulfilment of the membership criteria, legal harmonisation, accession negotiations, etc,) there must also be a "communication process" i.e. a set of actions directed at the information and preparation of internal public for the integration. Public support for accession to the European Union is of no less significance for Hungary. The Hungarian government adopted a national communication strategy in 1995 and the implementation started from 1996, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The basic idea of the Strategy is that for Hungary, the most appropriate and most efficient way of development can be provided by EU membership. Therefore, the goal of communication has been to convince the public to accept the EU accession as a guarantee of security and socio-economic modernisation for the country and to get prepared for the utilisation of chances emanating from the accession on the one hand, and for the possible challenges, on the other. The efficiency of the first five years of the Strategy can be assessed by the increase in the awareness of the general public. According to findings of public opinion surveys done since 1996 by Hungarian and international research centres on a sample of  a few thousand people each, trends seem basically positive. The level of  general knowledge about the integration considerably increased in 2001 as compared to earlier poll results.

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Peter Balazs
Peter Balazs
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