Pursuant to its statutory tasks, API has negotiated rules concerning the relationship between the Brussels press corp and the European institutions.
Here you can read / download a codification of all the existing agreements which are in force at present with the European Commission. You are most welcome to report to us cases of abuse or to invoke the respect of these rules in your daily professional life.
Codification of the agreements between the Spokesman's office of the European Commission (SPP) and API
SUMMARY OF AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE SPOKESMAN'S SERVICE OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (SPP) AND THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS ASSOCIATION (IPA)
The document below summarises the agreements reached between the European Commission Spokesperson's Service (SPP) and the International Press Association (IPA). It reflects the current position of the agreements between the SPP and the IPA without prejudging developments in certain ongoing discussions.
I. Information disseminated in the press room
a) Status of statements made in the press room:
"on the record"
The information may be attributed by name to Commission spokesperson. Any statement made in the press room or at other briefings belongs in this category, unless expressly indicated otherwise.
"off the record"
The information may be attributed to "Commission sources". Information will be given in the press room wherever possible. This obligation should not be regarded as an attempt to limit direct contact with the Spokesperson's Service. It is intended to ensure that sensitive information is not mentioned in the press room, but remains confined to small numbers of people with inside knowledge or to journalists specialising in certain areas. EBS transmission will be interrupted manually for "off the record" information. Photo, video and sound recordings are not permitted unless agreed otherwise.
In general background information is not attributable. The Communication Advisors in each Commissioner's cabinet will speak on background.
b) Equal treatment
Accredited journalists receive equal treatment, whatever their nationality or publication. New information or general-interest announcements with political implications given "on the record" by a Commission Member at a meeting or interview with individual journalists or a specialist group of journalists, at meetings with journalists from the country of origin or at other meetings prior to visits or missions must be passed on, at least in summary form, in the press room or be made accessible to all accredited journalists. Such information should be communicated as early as possible by the competent spokesperson by email alert and/or press release or, failing this, at the first midday briefing following the meeting.
c) Immediate information to the press on Commission decisions
Subject to the prior-information rights of the other institutions or national or international authorities, the press will be informed immediately of any decision taken at Commission level. Information and press releases must not be delayed until later in the day or the following day while awaiting an appearance by the Commission Member concerned in the press room or the multi-language availability of the press releases concerned.
d) Quality of IP notes and memos
The SPP will continue to monitor the quality of press releases and fact sheets and to supply accurate technical data.
Constant efforts will be made to ensure that these are disseminated at the start of the midday briefing.
e) Language cover
Interpretation into English and French will be available at the midday briefing other than on Wednesdays, the day when the Commission meets, when interpretation into all Community languages is available. For press conferences there will be as many languages as possible, including at least the language of the Commission Member and the languages important to the subject being discussed. English and French will be available for technical briefings. Translations of press releases will be made available in English, French and German and in the languages important to the subject under discussion.
Efforts will be made to ensure that fact sheets are available at least in English and French.
II. Mid-day briefing (rendez-vous de midi)
The starting time (12 noon) must be systematically respected.
b) Attendance of spokespeople in the press room
Spokespersons will always be present in the press room during the midday briefing. If a spokesperson is absent, (s)he will be represented by another spokesperson and as many press officers as possible will be available for an "off the record" briefing.
c) Items on the agenda
The agenda of press events of the current and next day will be communicated by press release in the morning.
d) Proper dissemination of information
The Commission will make an effort to disseminate the information efficiently, and to avoid successive press conferences by different Commission Members on the same day.
Accreditation with the European institutions (a procedure managed by the European Commission) enables journalists, film crews and photographers to obtain a badge recognised by the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Accreditation is granted by the Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM) at the recommendation of the Media Accreditation Committee, which comprises representatives of the Directorate-General for Communication, the International Press Association (IPA), the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The Accreditation Committee meets regularly. Accreditation is a practical arrangement intended for professional journalists. In no case does it constitute proof of professional qualifications.
Further information can be found on the relevant website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/press/accreditation_en.htm
IV. Access to the Berlaymont and Commission buildings
a) Access to the Berlaymont Press Zone
Accredited journalists should present themselves with proof of status (press card) at the entry point to the Press Zone. They must present bags and briefcases etc. for X-ray inspection and pass through the detection gate. Journalists must display their press cards at all times while inside the building. They may circulate freely within the Press and Spokesman's Service zones, in the canteen and in the ground-floor cafeteria of the Berlaymont in the manner agreed.
Journalists without accreditation and other media representatives must present themselves at the reception desk, showing proof of identity and proof of status (national press card or equivalent document). They must obtain and display a temporary "Visitor" badge, also marked “PRESS”, giving them access to the Press Zone. DG COMM representatives authorised to give access to the Press Zone will be available to clarify any situation causing confusion. In such a case the visitor will be allowed access to the Press Zone only after the DG COMM representative has given verbal permission and confirmed the right of access.
b) Access to all other parts of the Berlaymont and to other Commission buildings (except the Directorate-General for Competition)
Rules and procedures for journalists' access to Commission premises are stipulated in the following document:
General Rules and Procedures for access to Commission premises for Journalists accredited to the European Commission
With this document, the European Commission ("the Commission") lays down general rules and procedures for journalists' access to Commission premises. These rules and procedures cover areas of respect for privacy, good conduct and cooperation as well as security.
The privacy statement governing European Commission media accreditation constitutes an integral part of these rules and procedures.
For the purposes of this particular document:
- 'Journalists' shall cover written, radio and TV journalists, film crews and press photographers.
- 'Accredited journalists' shall describe any journalist in possession of a valid media accreditation issued by the Commission.
- 'Media accreditation badge' shall describe identification and access card stating that its owner has been granted media accreditation.
- 'Non-accredited journalists' shall describe any journalist not in possession of such a valid media accreditation.
- 'Commission staff member' shall describe a statutory staff member of the Commission.
- 'Press zones' shall describe dedicated zones for press activities on Commission premises, mainly in the Berlaymont and the Charlemagne buildings. In the Berlaymont building, the press zone comprises the Berlaymont press room, meeting rooms and press bar.
- 'Administrative zones' shall describe all offices of Commission staff and adjacent corridors, all meeting rooms as well as any other locations attributed to Commission staff.
- 'Social zones' shall describe "shared" premises such as restaurants, cafeterias, canteens, lobbies, waiting areas, reception areas, elevators and escalators.
- 'Secure zones' shall describe physically protected zones protected by specific security measures. Access to such zones is strictly limited to duly authorized Commission staff members only.
- 'Filmings and recordings' shall describe any form of sound and/or image recording.
- 'DG COMM' shall describe the Directorate-General for Communication and units hereof; 'DG COMM SPP' shall describe the DG Communication Spokespersons' Service.
- 'HR.DS' shall describe the Commission's Security Directorate in charge of security matters in the Commission, including access rights and procedures to Commission premises.
3. General rules and procedures on access for non-Commission staff
Non-staff are authorized to access administrative zones only if they have been invited and are accompanied by a Commission staff member at all times. Consequently, journalists (accredited or non-accredited) are not authorized to access
- any administrative zone while unaccompanied by a Commission staff member
- any secure zones
4. Rules and procedures for accredited journalists
Media accreditation is granted by DG COMM SPP in agreement with the Inter-institutional Accreditation Committee. The conditions for media accreditation can be found here http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/press/accreditation_en.htm. Accredited journalists will receive a media accreditation badge which will grant them access to Commission premises subject to rules and procedures laid out in this document. They are required to present their media accreditation badge to security staff upon arrival on Commission premises and to wear their media accreditation badge visibly at all times while on site.
Accredited journalists are authorized to have unaccompanied access only to the following designated zones:
- Berlaymont press zone as well as dedicated press zones in other Commission buildings, if existing
- Berlaymont social zone (floors 0 and -1) including the cafeteria and the canteen
Accredited journalists are authorized to access the Berlaymont press zone from Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 20:00 local time. Access outside these hours will be granted only in exceptional and duly justified cases (e.g. EU Summit, Open Days, etc.) after prior authorization by and under the responsibility of DG COMM SPP and/or HR.DS.
5. Rules and procedures for non-accredited journalists
Non-accredited journalists shall address their request for access to Commission premises to DG COMM SPP as early as possible and at least 24 hours in advance. The rules and procedures laid out in this document apply. It is within the responsibility of HR.DS and DG COMM SPP to grant non-accredited journalists access and to ensure their compliance with the rules and procedures in place while on site.
Any non-accredited journalist is considered as a visitor and will be treated subject to the rules and procedures applicable for visitors and therefore must:
- be registered in the Commission registration system for visitors (epass) by DG COMM SPP or the Commission staff member they intend to visit
- present themselves at reception upon arrival on Commission premises
- be received by the DG COMM SPP representative or the Commission staff member they intend to visit at the reception of the Commission building
- wear their visitor badge visibly at all times while on site
- return the visitor badge to the Commission staff at the reception desk before leaving the premises
Non-accredited journalists will be authorized to have unaccompanied access only to the Berlaymont press zone. They do not have access to the Berlaymont social zones (floors 0 and -1) including the cafeteria and the canteen unless accompanied by a Commission staff member.
5. Respect for dignity, privacy and integrity of Commission staff and property
Journalists shall have due regard to the dignity, privacy and integrity of all individuals, Commission staff, visitors and any other individuals present on Commission premises as well as to the integrity of the Commission's property and equipment. Any violation may lead to the revocation of the media accreditation.
6. Filming and recording
Unless stated otherwise by DG COMM or HR.DS, filmings and recordings by journalists are permitted in the Berlaymont press zone.
Any filming and recording in any other zone of Commission premises, including in all social zones, is subject to prior agreement by DG COMM SPP. If granted, the film team must be accompanied by a Commission staff member at all times.
The intention to film or record a conversation with a Commission staff member is subject to prior written agreement by the Commission staff member. Hiding recording or filming equipment and/or recording without or against the Commission's staff member's prior agreement are strictly forbidden.
Any intention to interview, film or otherwise record a conversation with a contractor working for the Commission or on Commission premises is subject to prior approval by DG COMM Audiovisual Services.
For security reasons, it is forbidden to film and/or photograph security staff, the security gates in and around the building, any other security systems and/or installations as well as the reception areas in any Commission building.
Artworks exhibited in the interior of Commission buildings are subject to copyright; therefore it is advisable not to film and/or photograph them.
7. Security rules and procedures
All journalists must respect and comply with Commission security rules and to follow any security instructions received from Commission staff and/or security guards.
Upon arrival in the building, all journalists must go through security control procedures, i.e. pass through a metal detector and pass their bags and equipment through an x-ray scanner in those Commission buildings where scanners are provided.
Journalists must report any loss or theft of their media accreditation badge immediately to the HR.DS Duty Office +32 (0)2 29 22222 and must present themselves in person as soon as possible to the Access Card Service, DG HR.DS.4, Rue Montoyer 34, 1000 Brussels.
8. Breaches of Commission rules and procedures
Non-compliance with these general rules and procedures may lead to the immediate revocation of media accreditation of the journalist and/or the media organization and of the immediate withdrawal of the journalist's media accreditation badge. Furthermore and subject to the gravity of the non-compliance, future applications for media accreditation may be refused.
The Commission may execute its right to revoke access to its premises to any individual who undermines the good conduct and cooperation in place or who endangers the safety and security of any other individual on Commission premises.
9. Entry into force
The rules and procedures stipulated above enter into force on 01 January 2016.
In exceptional circumstances, e.g. during heightened alert states or similar developments or situations, the Commission reserves its right to temporarily issue specific instructions in response to these circumstances so as to ensure a smooth and secure cooperation on its premises.
Last updated 08 November 2016