Wednesday

8th Jul 2020

Commission edited out Juncker gaffe

  • Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (l) with deputy chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva (r).

A European Commission spokeswoman has defended the practice of altering transcripts of official speeches.

At the institution's daily briefing on Tuesday (8 November), journalists asked deputy chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva why there were lines missing from the transcript of a speech given by president Jean-Claude Juncker a day earlier.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Speaking to the European Confederation of Trade Unions (ETUC), he told Italy to stop blaming the commission over EU fiscal rules, and said that the cost of migrants and earthquake reconstructions would only increase the country’s deficit by 0.1 percent of GDP.

But the Italian authorities, currently negotiating some flexibility with EU budget rules to exceed its deficit targets, have earmarked 0.4 percent of GDP, or €6 billion, to this additional spending.

Andreeva said there were ”many figures circulating”, none that were set in stone yet, and referred to EU commissioner for economic affairs, Pierre Moscovici, who mentioned the 0.4 percent figure at a press conference on Monday evening.

When asked why the phrases had been cut out, she said commission staff were trying to make journalists' work easier.

”Sometimes it takes a long time to transcribe what has actually be said. We make sure that there is something that you can already use which does not change the message," she said.

"We would never modify anything that the president said because he is the highest authority of the commission.”

She encouraged reporters to use the authorised versions because they were ”safe”, but said live speeches and recordings were also available.

The transcript of Juncker's speech wasn't entirely cleared of controversy though.

For example, he poked fun at refugees settling in Luxembourg, his home country, under the EU relocation scheme.

"We found 53 after explaining to them that it was close to Germany. Not all are still there," he said, adding that it was "scandalous" that refugees didn't want to go to places other than Germany.

Be soft on Juncker, YouTube told interviewer

A French woman who participated in a broadcast event with the commission president claims she felt threatened not to ask about lobbies and tax avoidance.

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss

The European Parliament is refusing to disclose documents on an internal debate on whether to set up e-cigarette smoking booths at its premises in Strasbourg and Brussels, posing questions on how it handles transparency on relatively minor issues.

EU parliament chairs explain missing lobbyist meetings

MEPs in January 2019 agreed to a rule change in a bid for greater transparency. The rules included requiring committee chairs to publish their meetings with registered lobbyists. EUobserver spoke to six chairs, who haven't done so yet.

News in Brief

  1. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'
  2. Shipping firms to face EU carbon regime
  3. EU to mediate between Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey
  4. EU to unveil arms-trafficking and drug proposals
  5. EU to discuss people-smuggling with African states
  6. 'Torture chamber' found in Dutch sea containers
  7. Commissioner backs under-attack Hungarian news site
  8. New French government tilts to right

MEP in police protection after Czech PM calls him 'traitor'

Three MEPs received numerous death threats in the Czech Republic for asking questions about how EU funds are being spent. One of them had his entire family under police protection after people threatened to murder his four children.

Black MEP: 'I have been a victim of police violence'

MEPs urged an end to structural racism and discrimination in Europe and the US, following the brutal killing of black American George Floyd by US police. Socialists and Green MEPs stressed the need to unblock the anti-discrimination directive.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. The opportunistic peace
  2. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  3. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  4. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy
  5. Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video
  6. Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss
  7. Belarus: Inside Lukashenko’s crackdown on independent voices
  8. The rationale behind US troop withdrawals from Germany

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us