Tuesday

19th Jan 2021

Podcast

Crisis communications

  • The EU Commission's daily midday briefing is now by video-conference only - but it is still going (Photo: Helena Malikova)

Eric Mamer took over last year as chief spokesperson for the European Commission, an institution he's served since mid-1990s.

When journalists were barred from his press room in March because of coronavirus, the amiable Frenchman had to improvise.

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His challenge is to put a crisis to good use: by reaffirming the relevance of the Commission's midday briefing even as member states stretch the rules his institution is meant to enforce to breaking point.

Israel Butler is head of advocacy for Liberties, a Berlin-based civil liberties organisation.

Butler describes how citizens and journalists can frame discussions about Covid-19 in ways that burnish the appeal of democratic freedoms, rather than detract from them.

Author bio

EU Scream is the progressive politics podcast from Brussels. Produced by James Kanter with graphics by Helena Malikova and music by Lara Natale.

You may also subscribe via iTunes, Spotify or from the EU Scream website.

Agenda

Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK

Finance ministers will hold all-important online meeting to find ways to mitigate the econmic fallout from the pandemic and heal wounds between northern and southern member states.

Coronavirus

Journalism hit hard by corona crisis

An already fragile business model for journalism might be dealt a lethal blow in the corona crisis. And the freedom of the press itself is coming under extreme pressure, as governments take swift and debilitating measures fighting the pandemic.

The high price of muzzling media

The coronavirus outbreak has been a pretext for government censorship and a crackdown on journalists, who have been exposed to new criminal charges as well as violent attacks.

Citizen deliberation in light of an insurrection

Can the EU do more to hold back the kinds of malign forces that overran the US Capitol? It's not an idle question. Democratic shortcomings in the EU are regularly invoked by the far-right to whip up nationalist sentiment.

Honesty is the best policy

Politicians mostly talk about shutting migrants out. That endangers migrants' lives and obscures an important truth: that Europe already relies on large numbers of migrants for farming and manufacturing.

News in Brief

  1. EU to set up sharing mechanism for Covid-19 vaccines
  2. Poll: Europeans believe China to eclipse US on world stage
  3. New Covid variant found in Bavaria, Germany
  4. Will Italian government survive senate vote?
  5. UK to probe British Virgin Islands lawlessness
  6. Ice-hockey drops 2021 Belarus world cup
  7. EU's euro-strategy bodes ill for City of London
  8. EU vaccine-refuseniks could face travel problems

Honesty is the best policy

Politicians mostly talk about shutting migrants out. That endangers migrants' lives and obscures an important truth: that Europe already relies on large numbers of migrants for farming and manufacturing.

Showdowns over the rule of law

Brussels is increasingly expected to serve as the European Union's sheriff on rule of law - but its ability to enforce adherence to democratic norms and values remains weak.

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