The Club of Venice was originally founded in 1986 by a small group of senior Government communications professionals across Europe.
At the time, the Berlin Wall was still up, the European Community had only 12 members, and the world wide web did not even exist. But Europe, and the wider world, was changing rapidly.
Since the mid-1980s, public communication has undergone profound changes. Today, successful communication with citizens is generally seen as an essential of any successful government policy – but this was not always the case.
There was a real need for government communicators from different countries to share their experiences, debate issues and learn from each other. By doing so, the founders of the Club hoped that members’ improved knowledge would help our national authorities.
A formal meeting place to explore the issue already existed, in the shape of the European Institutions in Brussels. At the time, however, this was overly diplomatic, and not very useful. The founding members of the club believed it was vital to create an informal and private space aimed at sharing direct, personal knowledge amongst senior practitioners and decision makers.
The co-founders of the Club of Venice were*:
Mieke van den Berghe, former Director General of the Federal Information Service (Belgium)
Hans Brunmayr, former Director General at the Council of the EU
Mike Granatt, former Director of the Government Information and Communication Service (UK)
Stefano Rolando, former Director General for Information in the Prime Minister’s Office (Italy)
Aurelio Sahagun-Pool, former Communications Director for the Prime Minister (Spain)
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Club welcomed colleagues from Central and Eastern European countries in anticipation of the EU’s later enlargement. We continue to invite participation from countries which are candidates for accession to the European Union.
*Apologies if any of the founding members have been omitted from the above in error.