The Europe Direct network is formed by local and regional EU information relays. It is established in 2005 and is present in all 28 EU member states nowadays. The network replaces former rural Carrefour EU information relays as well as former Info Point Europe relays. The European Commission supports the network by providing it with adequate information material and co-finance. In addition, every relay has its own national host organization. In Finland there are 8 relays and in the whole European union there are over 500 relays. The European Documentation Centres (they are usually located with universities and their number is some 300) and the Team Europe EU-expert network as well as Europe Direct phone service are members of the European Direct network, too.
Europe Direct Rural Oulu South - Oulun Eteläisen EU-tietokeskus continues the work of the former rural EU information relay called "Maaseudun EU-tietokeskus Carrefour Jokilaaksot" which was active in 1999 – 2004. Its host organization is the Nivala-Haapajärvi Sub-region and its territory is three most southern sub-regions of Oulu province (Nivala-Haapajärvi, Ylivieska and Haapavesi-Siikalatva sub-regions) with 14 municipalities and nearly 88 000 inhabitants. This area is commonly known as "Oulu South". The office of Europe Direct Rural Oulu South is located in Haapajärvi.
The Europe Direct relays provide citizens with knowledge, advice, help and answers concerning the European Union and its institutions, legistlation, policies, programmes and finance possibilities. In addition, the relays promote discussion of the European Union and its policies both at regional and local level. They also offer a possibility to give feedback to various union institutions. The Europe Direct network has a vital role in implementing the information dissemination measures of the European Union at local and regional level.