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


  1. Thanks Ralph for the vigilant eye!
    Please also check out our "euro-pages"

    On the press portal, the Twitter widget brings in the coverage for the Eurogroup
    http://consilium.europa.eu/press (all doorstep statements are to be found via the TVNewsroom button and the live of the presser by Juncker, Rehn, Regling via the Council Live button).

    The EFSF paper you mention has been published on the EUCouncilPress’ scribd account at the same time as it has been distributed to journalists in the press room: http://www.scribd.com/EUCouncilPress

    Have a nice day and keep watching us! Great blog post!

  2. @Dana

    Thank you for your quick response, on Twitter and here.

    Hopefully, some readers use the links you provided.

    I have tried to send you a few suggestions separately, before I noticed your blog comment.

  3. @Dana

    My reply may not have reached you, so I answer here.

    As I said in the post, there is the press conference recording which I linked to, but I wanted to approach the burning hot eurozone issue from the viewpoint of an EU citizen, already above average since able to find the Council.

    I can imagine all sorts of reasons for the Euro Group to keep a fairly low profile, but this is perhaps not the best of times to hide away.

    A problem, in my opinion, is partly that Euro Group seldom issues press releases, and these are hard to find. You have to know to look for AV recordings (or the separate press page and Twitter application).

    Front page press release – even if fairly empty - with link to video recording could go some way towards finding the available information.

    Are you sure the Scribd format is an improvement over simply posting a document in a normal fashion (pdf), in the same place as the main information?

    Thank you for the quick response.



  4. @Dana

    An afterthought: The web page Council meetings http://consilium.europa.eu/press/council-meetings.aspx?lang=en&lang=en&cmsid=1119 functions pretty well for each official configuration, both before and after. Press releases could link to this page, where readers find the agenda, background note, press conference recording (AV), pictures, conclusions (with language versions) in one place.

    Why not use press releases on the front page to channel readers to a similar page for each Euro Group meeting, both pre and post, if it is unconceivable to treat the informal group as official configurations?


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