Tuesday, 8 November 2011

EU Council communications: Heard of the eurozone?

Is it irony, or what? We are in the middle of a crisis of some proportions in the eurozone (population 332 million). There are widespread fears that the euro house of cards might crash in a near future if the assembly line of ”comprehensive solutions” continues to provide too little, too late.

We also know that the finance ministers in the Euro Group met yesterday evening. However, when I arrive at the web page of the Council of the European Union very early in the morning, the latest news on offer are statements from the high representative Catherine Ashton about Northern Nigeria, Liberia, Syria, Japan, Israel and Japan – all worthy matters, of course.

If we click for more news, we have to go back to 1 November 2011 to find two joint press releases addressing economic issues. A week ago EUCO president Herman Van Rompuy and Commission president José Manuel Barroso jointly commented on the (then) latest developments in the eurozone, and they informed us about their upcoming trip to the EU-US summit in Washington DC at the end of the month.

I know that the Euro Group is an informal gathering, not a proper Council configuration, but some sense of priorities, responsiveness and flexibility would be appreciated.

Euro Group press conference

There does not seem to be even a scrap of paper for the public from the Euro Group meeting. You need to know what to look for, because the chairman Jean-Claude Juncker held a press conference (recorded, including questions and answers 35:33), together with the Commission vice-president Olli Rehn and the EFSF chief executive officer Klaus Regling, although most of their introductory comments were obviously read from papers. However, Regling repeatedly referred to an EFSF paper made available to journalists.

Ralf Grahn