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Press briefings

Location

A daily press briefing takes place in the Commission's press room from Monday to Friday, at midday. If the time changes, journalists are informed in advance.

Purpose of the briefings

They deliver official statements, off-the-record guidance and background briefings in order to inform journalists of on-going or forthcoming Commission activities. They also provide an opportunity for journalists to ask the spokespersons any questions on EU affairs.

Press briefing on College meeting

The weekly meeting of the 28 Commissioners is normally held in the Berlaymont building on Wednesday morning. The Commission Spokesperson briefs normally the press at midday about the meeting. An additional briefing may take place in the afternoon if the Commission meeting is not finished by midday. Journalists are told of any additional briefings in advance.

When the European Parliament holds its monthly plenary session in Strasbourg, the Commission holds its weekly meeting in Strasbourg too (usually on Tuesday afternoons). On such occasions, the Spokesperson's briefing may be transmitted electronically to the Brussels press room and shown simultaneously. Journalists are informed about this in advance.

Commissioners' press conferences/briefings

Commissioners may hold a press conference at anytime, to explain a given proposal, to comment on specific issues and events, or to appear together with a visiting personality. If these take place in Strasbourg and depending on the interest in the conference, they may be electronically transmitted to Brussels. Journalists are informed of those press events by esPRESSo (press releases by subscription) on a daily basis.

Commissioners and/or their spokespersons may also hold technical briefings for selected groups of journalists. In such cases, everything announced on-the-record will be transmitted in the press room shortly afterwards.

Working languages: the daily working languages of the press briefings are French and English on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and all languages on Wednesdays. Translation into all EU languages is available during the Wednesday Midday Briefing on the Commission meeting.

When a Commissioner gives a press conference interpretation is provided into and out of the working languages of the College, the language of the Commissioners present and in addition one or more languages specific to the subject being presented.

Attribution of comments by Spokespersons

The rules are as follows:

  • 'On the record': this information can be attributed to the spokesperson by name. Everything is on-the-record unless otherwise specified.
  • 'Off the record': this information should not be linked to the Directorate-General for Communication or to its individual members in any way. It refers to sources to be agreed with the spokespersons.
  • 'Background': this information cannot be linked or attributed to the Commission.

No TV footage or radio recording of the Directorate-General for Communication can be relayed if the spokesperson or official makes a statement 'off the record' or as background.