NICOSIA--The European Union is hoping that a big-budget PR campaign will boost its efforts to foster reconciliation in Cyprus.

The organization is currently searching for agencies to oversee a three-year programme worth €1.5m, which aims to drive social and economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community.

According to tender documents, the EU believes that this approach will "facilitate efforts regarding a settlement of the Cyprus problem, leading to a reunification of the island."

The campaign is being overseen by the Europe Aid Directorate-General that oversees the EU's development and cooperation efforts.

Cyprus, which has has been divided since 1974, joined the EU in 2004. While the northern, Turkish-held, part of the island is not considered EU territory, Turkish Cypriots are regarded as EU citizens.

Since 2006, a €259 million aid programme has attempted to bring Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU and help them prepare for reunification. The new PR programme aims to support this effort by establishing an information centre in northern, Turkish-held Nicosia.

The centre hopes to improve awareness of EU policies and actions regarding Cyprus and support implementation of EU-funded activities for Turkish Cypriots. In addition, the EU is seeking to enhance understanding of EU rights and duties among the Turkish Cypriot community, via a series of seminars, conferences and workshops.

The agency search comes as Cyprus grapples with the biggest economic crisis in the island's history, which has seen it accept a €10bn Eurozone bailout to prevent its banking system from collapsing.