Present: Margaritis Schinas (SPP), Lisa Dimitrova (SPP), Tom Weingärtner, Lorenzo Consoli (API), Eric Maurice (API) Kris Van Haver(API), Michael Stabenow(API), Hans de Bruijn (API), Thierry Monasse (API).
Taking stock of the Informal Leaders' meeting, which took place on 24 June, it was agreed that the SPP will explore solutions for use of alternative spaces in the BERL, especially for the doorsteps, allowing for better photo opportunities and easier access of journalists.
Family photos on the 13th floor, SPP to address the issues of the lighting (contra jour) by possibly installing blinds or moving the platform used for the family photo in a different location.
API addressed the issue of timely information and notifications via e-mail. At press conferences and for the midday briefing, press material including the daily news is rarely available early enough to ask detailed questions.
MS stated that the Spokespersons' Service always strives to disseminate information efficiently in full compliance with the API agreement. The agreement foresees that communication with accredited journalists is made as early as possible, "either by email alerts and/or press releases". The SPP communicates timely via publications on Rapid. The system offers technical possibilities to everyone to subscribe to real time alerts of publications. In addition as per the agreement, the SPP will continue sending e-mail notifications when it considers it necessary. In order to be informed in real time it is advisable that correspondents use the personalised notifications' options offered by RAPID (real-time as well as daily/weekly alerts).
API stressed the need for more factual and technical information; next to the political message of the Commission which too often is the only information given. MS will consider scheduling, as a general rule, technical briefings preferably before press conferences with Commissioners, possibly under embargo regime. Experience so far has shown that only few colleagues show up when technical briefings are organised after the press conferences.
API will come back to the SPP with suggestion on how to improve the daily news items and press releases, giving examples of good and bad press releases as well as suggestion on what exactly the journalists would like to see in the daily news items.
API stated that there is a general unhappiness among correspondents with the communication by the SPP from the podium during the midday briefings. MS notes that according to his contacts such unhappiness is limited only to certain correspondents. If a question can not be answered, or the SPP does not want to answer at this time, this should be said without evasive manoeuvering or commenting on the question. The SPP reiterated its commitment to continue providing the highest degree of quality information during middays. API took note of this commitment.
There was a wide agreement that high professional ethics and respectful behaviour in the press room from both sides should be the norm, allowing journalists and the wider public to follow midday live and on EbS and focus on arrays of issues that interest the European citizens.