Saturday 18 March 2017

The EU in 2016 - General Report

I remember a time, when the General Report of the European Union was a reference tool of more than 600 pages, with exact information about procedures and acts adopted.

I used to think that the General Report was a useful tool for students, teachers, researchers, civil servants, journalists, NGO and business people, as a well documented recap of recent developments in a certain policy area, before catching up on the latest events.

The European Commission later discontinued the Monthly Bulletin and started producing a lighter version of its annual report. The legal obligation - now Article 249(2) TFEU - remains:

The Commission shall publish annually… a general report on the activities of the Union.

The latest version, available through the Publications Office, is:

According to the information, the report was adopted 24 February 2017 under reference number COM(2017) 1289, but I failed to find it under the reference on Eur-Lex or the Legislative Observatory of the European Parliament.

While reading the hundred pages of the General Report for 2016 - available in HTML and PDF formats - I tried to imagine the intended reader or user of an extended corporate brochure like this.

The text is shorter and lighter than at the beginning of the previous decade. There is a fair sprinkling of links to Commission and other web pages of varying quality, as well as a number of videos about the EU’s well meaning and kind actions at home and abroad.

If not printed, the presentation cannot be used as a gift to groups visiting the EU institutions on guided tours. Maybe the report could serve as a starting point for assignments to students in high school and a little later.

It would be interesting to hear from the makers.

Ralf Grahn

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