Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deutsche Welle Radio quit Euranet consortium

In 2007, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and the French counterpart Radio France International launched "Euranet", a consortium of European radio stations. The cooperation gives national radio stations access to valuable information about other countries and makes joint radio productions about European topics possible.
I was shocked to learn that Deutsche Welle quit the consortium only two years after it came into existence. I love to listen to the German language podcast "Treffpunkt Europa", a weekly 25-minute radio show about European cultural life. Now it's cancelled, without any explation in the podcast or on the Deutsche Welle website.

In a document of the German Bundestag (the radio is publicly funded), I learned that Deutsche Welle quit the radio network on 30 June 2009 because Euranet had turned into the legal form of a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG), which can directly accept commissions by the European Commission. In other words, the network has moved from an independent news provider to a client of the European Commission. On the Euranet website, I only find a short article commenting on the decision (in Spanish, all others seem to have been removed from the cache), which doesn't really explain anything. Apparently, the EEIG was established in the so-called "Warsaw Declaration on Pan-European Cooperation and Communication", but a short notice on a Polish radio station website is all I can find about it.

I saw that Thierry Vissol, advisor of the DG Communication in multimedia communication, had also been present at the meeting, but I couldn't find any information about the meeting neither in Commission documents, nor in enquiries of the European Parliament Education and Culture Committee (of which I doubt whether it has any rights whatsoever to enquire actions of Euranet as a non-EU body).

So in the end, the degree to which the Commission may influence Euranet productions remains vague. We should probably be more cautious in using Euranet now. I'll rely more on EUX.TV; there I'm absolutely positive that it's an independent news provider and that it will remain like this for a while.


  1. I wonder how much editorial oversight the Commission would have over one of these so-called EEIGs?

    Technically speaking, you and I have both also received EU funds as part of the Th!nk2 competition! ;-)

  2. that's true. we also received EU funds and I guess most of us have a very pro-EU kind of attitude and don't even need to be influenced ;). But apparently, the kind of interference that the Commission has in an EEIG is large enough to make the German radio quit the network. It's sad that this puts a very good piece of objective journalism to a halt.