Yes, I’ve gone quiet again of late. Sorry. Illness and work have conspired to make me feel like poo.
Still, an interesting tidbit from the whole “did Peter Mandelson get up to anything dodgy with Russian oligarchs?” thing that’s been knocking around for the last week or so, from the invaluable Unspeak:
So as to head off any suggestion of impropriety, the Telegraph has been asking the EU for the records of all Mandelson’s meetings with Deripaska while the former was trade commissioner. The EU’s response is not exactly helpful…
It all comes down to the definition of what is a “document” according to EU regulation 1049/2001. Exciting, eh? Nonetheless, it’s well worth reading the whole thing. This kind of obfuscation and obstructionism isn’t unique to the EU, of course – but by god, Brussels doesn’t do these things by half…
(This sort of thing, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, is the reason that the EU receives so little press coverage – working out precisely what its rules and regulations are is one of the most tedious things imaginable, and even if you do happen to have a journalist or blogger determined enough to manage to track it down before the news cycle has moved on, you’re then stuck with all kinds of petty squabbles over terminology. It’s fairly surprising that any EU news ever gets out, in fact…)
In any case, this all follows rather neatly from recent responses from GrahnLaw, Julien Frisch and Re: Europa to a Statewatch paper suggesting methods to achieve “greater openness, transparency and democracy in the EU” (WARNING – PDF). Worth a look – because I doubt there’s an EU-watcher out there who wouldn’t wish for more of all three.
My plea to the European Union thoughout my five and a half years of trying to blog about it remains the same as it ever was: Please, please stop being so boring and incomprehensible. Pretty please?