Like usual, rumors and also good ideas abound about potential post-election changes. Some of them are purely tentative or individual. Some others have policy relevance, and even public interest: worth publishing or even debating.

You wish to contribute discreetly? Please read on…

Four main types of ideas possible

  • Changes include first people moves: ‘landings’ of cabinet folks, rotation of Directors General & lower down, pre-retirement promotions, pre-departure ‘pushes’ by Commissioners, quotas for women and ‘new’ Members etc. EurActiv is interested in the top moves, welcomes hints, and will of course assess credibility.
  • Then, there are organisational hypothesis, hopefully bringing priorities and org. charts in sync: changes in DG names, Commissioner portfolios, reallocations following budget cuts, perhaps new forms of clustering?
  • Further, there are softer changes, like cross-silos groups, debating platforms, various discussion groups, major re-training initiatives, etc. Less frequently covered. In the long run, this may bring more changes than hard-fought fine tuning of director’s lists?
  • Last but not least, there is the preparation of policy briefs by some top officials. Yes, various groups of Directors General, some of them interacting with a few PermReps…For example, what will replace the ill-fated, Barroso-era, Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020? ( updated: see first comment below). This work is discreet, because a) current Commissioners are still in place until autumn 2014, b) the actual agendas are to reflect the new college priorities, themselves influenced by the election results and EP debates. (+ see comment 2)

Before and after the 2009 elections, I noted surprisingly little debate about socio-economic agenda, from its content to its ‘packaging’ and communication. This was even discouraged, as if the ‘new’ President, backed by the Council and EPP, had any risk of being unseated by the new Parliament… On the other hand, at every round some think tanks and media did propose publicly some measures that made it: locating Commissioners with their DGs in 1999, a Communication Commissioner in 2004, a regrouped enlargement & neighborhood portfolio in 2009, more recently the Commissioners’ scoring, etc.

So, it’s worth debating these things openly, also feeding more interesting EP election campaigns.

Here are my two invitations to EU officials that think ahead but can’t express themselves publicly:

Opinion / OpEd on

In the spirit of more open debates, has just decided to allow the use of pseudonyms by officials (also government civil servants, but not lobbyists, who experience less limitations on free speech). Under two conditions: a) one Editor (or me) know who they are, in trust, b) of course our usual guidelines on relevance, quality and format are respected.

Send ‘off the record’ ideas

I’ll consider them, involving a journalist if I see fit. In both cases, here are examples what I’m really seeking: You hear of a policy hypothesis that merits support or debate? Your DG could be renamed or merged to reflect job cuts or emerging priorities? You lead a discussion group on Jammer and hope to influence your next Commissioner via the press? You think PPE, PS, Green and ALDE platforms miss a major point? Then there may be public interest, let’s talk or email me.

I don’t promise to publish all ideas received or to influence my own judgement or to meet all interested people. So, I only make two commitments: to examine submissions carefully, and to respect the source’s confidentiality. (+ see 3d comment below: any more questions?)

And now, if you have a few spare minutes during Summer: to your phone or keyboard!

Christophe Leclercq
(away from 2 to 26 August but email & answering machine work: + 02 226 58 13)



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  1. For the sake of completeness: there are also ‘pig picture’ topics, like Future of Europe-type treaty changes. While the Commission is expected to publish some views, this is beyond its reach, more for ‘ballons d’essai’ in pre-election books and speeches. For the moment, the usual line is ‘don’t rock the boat and feed British appetites’, but I bet it will change after German elections…

  2. Smart diplomats and Public Affairs people know there is not less, but more, policy influence before elections.
    You dream of lobbying for your country once key people are nominated? after parties have prepare their manifestos and DGs coach their Commissioner for EP hearings?
    Well, unless you sit in Berlin, it’s not a dream but a nightmare: an uphill battle…

  3. Please understand I’m less interested in old frustrations, or personal attacks, or would-be scandals (there are other channels for these). Or in a stagiaire’s list of 100 things to change in the unit (I’ve been there years ago!). Or in old publications by the staff association EuReforme (I know them, I was co-founder). Or in leaks by cabinets 3 days before inter-service or by spokespeople 3 days before a ‘point de presse’: that’s just the daily routine of a media :-).

    BTW, I am a former EU Commission official, then media founder but not journalist. I am aware of both the ‘statut du personnel’, regarding press exposure, and also of source protection, freedom of expression, and EU general interest.

    While comments are welcome here below, the best is to contact me directly…

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