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Some remarks on the Council briefing: Off the record!

This morning, thanks to my short-term blogger accreditation,  I’ve been at the off-the-record briefings on the upcoming Competitiveness Council (see my previous posts on my preparations for the Council here and here).

I am not supposed to talk about the content of these briefings unless I quote “Brussels sources” or “EU sources”. This is actually a pretty stupid practice given the content of what was presented and discussed.

In general, 95% of what was said, even after questions from journalists, could be found more or less in preparatory documents, information sheets or simply in EU law. Some remarks gave some additional background, a few helped to foresee the upcoming discussions, but nothing spectacular, nothing delicate. And it’s hard to believe that it is different most of the time.

In a truly democratic system, such pseudo-confidelity would not be needed. Given what I have heard today, I can’t see which of the comments that could possibly be made during such a pre-Council briefing could or should not have been broadcasted or simply be regarded as public statements.

Especially when it comes to legislative procedures, I even think that this is wrong. But journalists and officials are used to such a symbiotic confidentiality relationship, why should they give up what is long-established practice of exclusive access of few to the few?

They seem to be happy with it. I find it strange.



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