Pilot project: Blogger accreditation

We announced the possibility of a pilot project for blogger accreditation to the EU Council in our post from the previous meeting of bloggers with the Hungarian Council Presidency.

On Friday, this was still hypothetical and now everything went much quicker than most expected; this afternoon those bloggers who participated in one of the first four meetings were invited to accredit for this week’s Competitiveness Council (Wednesday and Thursday)

Given the speed of developments, two of the Bloggingportal.eu editors will participate in the pilot this time, hoping to keep the doors open for many more bloggers and many more Councils to come. You can follow @europasionaria and @ronpatz on Twitter and on their blogs Europasionaria.eu and Polscieu.

Both will be able to attend tomorrow’s background briefing (which is off-the-record) and then have similar access to the Council as journalists have on Wednesday on Thursday.

More to follow here, on Twitter and on the blogs. Stay tuned!

Update: See the live blogging here: Day 1 & Day 2



24 Comments

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jolyonwagg1March 8th, 2011 at 14:39

A small bubble world of EU bloggers into the holy inner sanctum? How about opening the heavy creaking doors of Brussels and the EP to the NORMAL citizens? eh?
As far as I can see this whole idea is just an excuse for an elite cosy bloggers club and nothing more.

Not really helping to open up the EP and EU’s rather tainted image, which is dying a slow death with the European public perception at large.

RonMarch 8th, 2011 at 14:49

@jolyonwagg1 I think that is a totally valid point, and we’ve been discussing this issue for quite some time within the bubble.

And I totally agree: If blogger access means just building an “elite cosy bloggers club” of people who don’t do much more than playing journalists and having fun accessing the institutions as a privilege, this whole matter would be useless.

I however hope it’s a start to open up the institutions step by step. But you may argue it’s in vein. Let’s say I haven’t given up hope.

KosmopolitMarch 8th, 2011 at 15:15

@jolyonwagg1 …of course this is not the solution of all problems but I think it is an important step forward. The fact that EU institutions started thinking about these issues should not be underestimated. And to be fair the EP is actually quite open to ‘normal’ citizens…

And about the ‘small bubble of elite EU bloggers’. Not our fault that it is small but it is definetly not an ‘elite’ club. It is quite an open process, eveyone can participate – it just seems that most bloggers/citizens are not particularly interested in EU politics.

jolyonwagg1March 8th, 2011 at 19:25

In the UK there is a strong determination for more political transparency, both national and local, through FOI requests. I think that many of the EU institution’s and EP have a very long way to go to becoming truly transparent?

Also making information much more citizen friendly? Most information posted on official EU websites is enough to send most people into a deep coma?

RonMarch 8th, 2011 at 19:38

@jolyonwagg1

I think the EU FOI regime, though far from perfect, functions quite okay in practice (if you’ve finally found the right webpages where to make the requests). There are a number of substantial loopholes and problematically interpreted exceptions, but access to documents is probably better than in many EU member states. I’ve personally done two requests in recent months, one to the Council and one to the Commission, and they’ve been dealt with quite swiftly (within the 15 working day period foreseen by the Access to Documents regulation) and both positively. In the case of my request to the Commission we talk about several dozen documents.

Nevertheless, given that there are a number of substantial problems (including the quality of the document registers and document searches), the fight for more transparency and FOI continues here in Brussels* – it’s just that there could be more of us.

Regarding the citizen-friendly websites I fully agree. There’s way to go. :)

*Background remark: I am an activist with and advisor to the Transparency International EU Office on questions such as FOI and EU budget transparency.

mathewMarch 8th, 2011 at 21:48

@jolyonwagg1,

I think I was the one who coined the term Brussels Bubble (or at least its hashtag), so you won’t find me in disagreement with you, but there is a difference.

There’s absolutely nothing to stop you from joining it. Which is in sharp contrast to the existing, very closed world of traditional media and lobbyists.

So it’s a step in the right direction, albeit small.

PS You seem to assume that access to EU documentation is worse than, say, in the UK. Possibly they are. But have you actually tested the EU Institution’s response time and compared that to Westminster? I’d love to see the results.

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