The European Commission Office in Northern Ireland first opened in 1980, acting initially as an Information and Press Office and serving a population which knew very little about the European Community. However the Representation's remit has expanded and now it has four distinct roles: Representing the European Commission's voice to all sectors of society by explaining the likely impact of EU policies and programmes and ensuring that information on Europe is factually correct. Reporting to Brussels and ensuring that the Commission is fully informed of the political, economic and social developments in the region. Supporting a policy of decentralising EU information in order to bring it closer to citizens. Stimulating constructive debate about EU policies and future developments. Debate is encouraged through conferences, briefings, press releases, publications, articles and television and radio interviews.