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Diana Wallis

The Brussels Business | Part II

Subsequent to writing the earlier posting on The Brussels Business I have had some communication from ALTER-EU who are concerned about the way they appear to have been connected with the film.

I reproduce here part of the e-mail I have received from Koen Roovers, the coalition co-ordinator of ALTER-EU:

«I understand you have been in touch with Olivier Hoedeman, who is not a member of ALTER-EU’s steering committee, but research coordinator of CEO. As such he acts from time to time as spokesperson for ALTER-EU, for instance on subjects related to the code of conduct for MEPs. In the film, both Mr Wesselius and Mr Hoedeman are introduced as spokespeople for CEO – the film highlights the work and raison d’être of this specific organisation. Not once is ALTER-EU mentioned in the film, and you are right in saying in your tweet that ALTER-EU had ‘no control over [the] content of The Brussels Business». 

 OK, but I have to say as a member of the viewing public, given the high profile presence of Mr Wesselius and Mr Hoedeman at the premiere and their leading role in the film, almost as the ‘heroes’ whose journey the viewer follows, I cannot have been alone in thinking there had been a close working relationship.

Likewise given their profile on the issue of transparency in Brussels, which I have made clear I fully appreciated and our regular contacts on this issue I think it is understandable that I find it odd that the film was never mentioned. Nor indeed my participation, nor that of any of my parliamentary colleagues, was sought. Of course this was ultimately a matter for the film-makers.

I could perhaps have written in my post   Indeed during the same period I saw Mr Wesselius and Mr Hoedeman  on an almost regular basis and valued their input…..

Perhaps the lesson from this is that all parties from all sectors, corporate or otherwise, have to make it clear who they are speaking on behalf of and when – Transparency rules!!

Diana Wallis


About Diana Wallis

A European from Yorkshire interested in people, politics, democracy, history and cultivating my garden!


3 thoughts on “The Brussels Business | Part II

  1. 100% in agreement with you: transparency rules for all parties!
    It is now important to make it mandatory; so that an even stronger message is sent from Brussels to EU citizens that the democratic process is protected carefully in what they increasingly see as a far remoted power place.

    Posted by Matthieu Lietaert | April 26, 2012, 11:42 PM
    • Matthieu,

      The Parliament, and I on behalf of the Parliament (when I was there) consistently and persistently argued and argues for a mandatory register. The point is to create such a register needs a European Law which in turn requires a legal basis in the Treaties, the only one which exists would require the agreement of all the Member States of the Union; that is no easy thing to achieve. Therefore in the meantime it has been best to at least to make progress with the voluntary register. However as a number of governments are now copying this nationally the moment could be right to try to force the issue and I had indeed hoped that this would happen under the current Danish presidency. The point is creating Europe begins ‘at home’ with national governments and parliaments, if they really buy into creating a transparent European system then Europe’s people have a chance not only of being able to see and understand what is happening but hopefully also to actively participate. This is the kind of Europe I have always fought for, and which ironically the Lisbon Treaty gave us many of the tools to create; we just need to use them.

      Posted by Diana Wallis | April 27, 2012, 9:55 AM
      • Thanks for this detailed answer! Democracy is a process, rather than an end point… so this current register is definitely a good seed that has been planted. Time will tell where it will lead us to 😉 More soon!

        Posted by Matthieu Lietaert | April 28, 2012, 3:10 PM

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