Open letter to Mr Juncker, President of the European Commission
Subject: Need to ensure the effective rebuttal of defamatory attacks on the institutions and their staff by anti-European lobbyists and media
By turn various media outlets and anti-European associations and lobbies regularly fire off slanderous attacks against the European civil service. Such lamentable behaviour is unfortunately not a new phenomenon but, until recently, it remained sporadic. In the last few months, however, particularly since Brexit, the migration crisis and tensions with some of our member states, the circulation of unfounded allegations targeting the institutions' staff has grown in volume.
As an illustration, the program recently broadcast on the French channel FR3:
contains grossly incorrect information should at least justify the exercise of a right of reply.
Faced by this wave of defamatory acts and the increase in their frequency and channels (press, radio, associations …) the occasion's responses from your Spokesperson and, from time to time, from one union or another seem wholly insufficient.
With the observed rise of populisms, it is more than likely that in the next few months, on the occasion of the campaigns for the next elections to the European Parliament, Brexit and the preparation of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the Institutions and their staff are going to suffer attacks as systematic as they will be unwarranted.
A lack of appropriate response is detrimental to the European Union as a whole and to its staff. Burying its head in the sand is certainly not the right approach in this area.
In this context, our Institution should also refrain from unnecessarily fuelling negative press campaigns by more scrupulously respecting the procedural and ethical rules it has adopted.
In that perspective, we believe that it would be more that desirable for you to intervene at the side of your staff to defend them with the utmost vigour.
To put up an effective defence, it will be indispensable to rebut rapidly and systematically all allegations in the media based on hasty and poorly documented generalisations so as to limit their subsequent use by populist associations.
In order to be able to respond appropriately, we suggest the creation of a special cell within Spokespersons' department provided with the means necessary to reply to all the disgraceful attacks that seek to make a scapegoat of the European civil service and its staff.
President FFPE Commission