Euronews June 2002

Bulletin of the European Federation of Journalists

June 2002


EFJ News
EFJ Solidarity News
Broadcasting News
European Authors' Rights News
European Policy Briefing

EFJ Leaders Agree on Action Plan on the Future of Europe

PUBLIC service, social welfare, news and information in the public interest - are these European values under threat of extinction?
On April 21, the EFJ Steering Committee agreed to make the struggle for survival of the European social market model and the implications for journalism and trades unionism in media the centrepiece of debate at this year annual meeting on June 15. After recent attacks on public service broadcasting and threats to editorial independence in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal the Committee issued a forceful statement calling on the European Union to react over media developments in Italy and Portugal (see broadcasting news below).
The Committee sets out an action programme on the challenges facing journalists and their unions and discussed the idea of organising a European-wide Journalists' Solidarity Day to focus on media concentration, employment rights, broadcasting policy and union recognition and bargaining rights.
The Annual Meeting will take place in Brussels and around 50 delegates will discuss the Action Plan to confront media globalisation.

Journalists Call for Union Co-operation Over Media Globalisation

A PROGRAMME of co-operation between journalists' and media workers' unions representing the workforce in multi-media companies in Europe is to be set up to confront the challenge of media globalisation.
At a meeting on May 3-4 in Brussels, more than 40 journalists and trade union officers from 18 European countries agreed to work together to provide practical solidarity and to share vital information. As one example of globalisation and its negative impact, the seminar examined the activities of the free newspaper group METRO International, which operates in many European capitals. METRO often shows little regard for social and employment rights of staff. The meeting agreed to contact the management in Stockholm and to seek European-wide discussions with the company to improve social and professional standards. Quality was another major theme, quality in the online sector and in traditional media. The Deutscher Journalisten Verband presented the "Initiative Qualität" (IQ) campaign, it has launched together with other media institutions, press councils, training schools etc. a year ago. A report of the seminar, which had the support of the European Commission, will be presented to the Annual Meeting of the EFJ on June 15 in Brussels.
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Concern Over European Union "Charter for Official Snooping"

DESPITE EFJ and IFJ calls on the European Parliament to block attempts to allow member states to pass laws that will give the authorities regular access to people's telephone and Internet communications, the Parliament agreed on a compromise text that "opens the door to the snooping society", said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary.
The draft law voted on by the European Parliament in Brussels on May 29 gives member states the right to pass laws that will allow official monitoring of people's private communications. The EFJ says that if telecommunications - telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and Internet usage - are placed under official surveillance data protection will be fatally undermined. "So will the capacity of journalists to monitor the apparatus of state and to get and protect information," said White.

EFJ Meets with Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen

AN EFJ delegation led by chair Gustl Glattfelder met on May 28 with Commissioner Günter Verheugen, who is responsible for enlargement. The meeting discussed the need for a new approach regarding media policy, social regulation and the need for setting standards in the media in Central and Eastern Europe. The EFJ asked for greater consistency by EU bodies in drawing up policy, urging it to work with journalists' organizations within the candidate countries. Commissioner Verheugen, who has worked as a journalist himself, said "that free and independent media are essential indicators of democratic societies - to guarantee the citizens' right to know". He said that he regretted the meeting had not taken place earlier.
Günter Verheugen said that:

The developments in the media field would be included in the future monitoring on the EU integration process;
He would make an appeal to publishers working in Central and Eastern Europe to respect social and professional standards;
He would give emphasis in future policy statements to stressing the relationship between working conditions and the quality of the media.
Finally, the Commissioner proposed a meeting with journalists from the candidate countries, involving the EFJ, to discuss the role of media in the enlargement process and to stress the need for social standards and quality.

EFJ Delegation meets Commission Over Labour Laws

THE issue of economically dependent workers, including the so-called "false freelances" who are forced to have non-staff contracts, but who work for one employer, was the main subject of a meeting between Senior officials of DG Social Affairs and Employment and the EFJ in Brussels on May 29. The Commission has launched a study to be published by October that will reveal the actual number of "economically dependent workers" in the different sectors and analyse their economic and social conditions. The Commission might, as a result, initiate legislation. A hearing with the European Parliament will take place. The Commission proposed to the EFJ delegation, represented by the chairs of the EFJ Freelance Expert Group, Arne König and Michael Hirschler and the European Officer Renate Schroeder, to undertake a study to analyse the situation of dependent and independent workers in the media sector and come up with concrete proposal for action at European level.


Good Results after long Strike by Norwegian Journalists

THE strike that involved over 3 000 journalists in 130 newspapers, digital media and local TV stations, was a great success for the EFJ affiliate Norsk Journalistlag (NJ). The union negotiated with the employers' association an agreement including five weeks of holidays for all journalists, extra days for senior journalists, and wage raises.
NJ's s representatives are pleased with the results, as holidays where the main issue in the strike, which lasted nine days, from May 29 until June 7. All journalists in newspaper, magazines, digital news media and local TV will get five weeks of holiday from this year. Those, who have 18 years in the profession will get three more days with full pay from 2002, and from next year there will be two extra days for those with 15 years' experience. There will also be a general wage raise of 5 363 NOK (720 €), and additional increasements for journalists with longer work experience. Fathers will get full pay during paternity leave.
The union also negotiated an authors' rights agreement for digital media, which is close to that of printed media. There are also new freelance agreements for local TV and Internet news media.

New Collective Agreement: Success for Croatian Journalists

EUROPAPRESS holding (EPH), the biggest newspaper company in Croatia, signed a crucial collective agreement on May 16 with the EFJ affiliate, the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ). The agreement guarantees five day working week, minimum 19 days of annual leave, paid overtime work, paid additional health and life insurance, guaranteed professional rights of journalists, scholarships for children of deceased workers and a number of other rights for journalists and other media workers. It applies to journalist on the daily Jutarnji list, and will gradually be extended to five other chapels at EPH, where the TUCJ began organising four years ago. The collective agreement is very significant for the region, because EPH is 50 percent owned by the German media giant Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

Greek Unions Win New Wages Deal after Several Strikes

AS a result of a series of all-out strikes in March backed 100 per cent by their members, EFJ affiliates in Greece, with the backing of a coalition of supporters involving print, newspaper staff and broadcasting unions, have secured a series of important improvements in collective agreements.
The pay settlement signed with Greek daily newspaper managements has increased salaries by 6 per cent at a time when inflation is running at 3 per cent. An agreement signed with the public broadcaster ERT creates convergence between broadcast journalists' salaries with their colleagues in the daily newspaper field. The Unions achieved this by securing a substantial increase in the editorial wage bill. Negotiations continue over authors' rights clauses and for a comprehensive settlement in broadcasting. These settlements were achieved after three one-day all out strikes that shut down media throughout the country. The strikes were co-ordinated by the four EFJ affiliates.
More information:

Third Strike Over Low Pay in UK

NUJ journalists at the Spalding Guardian in Lincolnshire started a ten-day programme of strike action over pay on June 1, 2002. This strike is the third staged by low-paid NUJ members on local papers this year. Earlier stoppages at the Bradford Telegraph and Argus evening paper and its associated weeklies and at the Guardian-owned Greater Manchester Weekly Newspapers, won increases for the lowest-paid of up to 24 percent. Many of the journalist earn less than half the UK average wage.
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EFJ Backs Strike by Italian Journalists and Media Workers

THE EFJ gave its full support to a general strike organized on April 16 by the three major trade union organizations of Italy including the Italian journalists' union, the FNSI. In a climate of increasing social tension and restrictions on media freedom, the Federazione Nationale della Stampa Italiana, the EFJ affiliate in Italy, called on all journalists working in all media including freelance journalists and correspondents to stop work. This prevented the publication of the major newspaper editions and news broadcasting on April 16. Unfortunately, the government has still not changed its position on a draft proposition regarding Article 18 of the labour law. According to this draft, employers would be allowed to dismiss workers without justified reason. Part-time contract would be hardly possible and the introduction of short-term work contracts through call-centers would lead to a total deregulation of the media sector.
In order to break this apparent stalemate, the trade union confederations have called forcefully for dialogue to resume shortly with the government and have drawn up some proposals to help talks, focusing on a substantial reform of the so-called social shock absorbers (measures which help cushion the effects of job losses and restructuring).

Journalists Warn of Crisis Of Confidence Over Media Policy in Poland

THE EFJ and IFJ called for the Polish authorities to withdraw actions against the majority owners of a leading daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, which they claim is the battle ground in a struggle between state and private interests for editorial control.
The IFJ joined other international media professional groups at a meeting in Warsaw to express solidarity with journalists and management at the daily which is owned with 51 per cent by the Norwegian media company Orkla and with a further 49 per cent by a state-holding company PPW. Three members of the board have had their passports confiscated amidst unsubstantiated claims of violations of fiscal law.
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Protection of Sources Threatened in Belgium

A BRUSSELS court ordered Douglas de Coninck and Marc Vendermeir, two reporters from the Belgian daily newspaper "De Morgen", to pay Euro 25 euros per hour for every hour that they continue to refuse to reveal their sources for an May 11th article which reported that Belgian State Railways had overshot its budget to build a new high-speed train (TGV) station in Liège by Euro 250m. The EFJ is monitoring closely and protesting on attacks on violations against protection of sources in Europe.

On June 25th, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is due to consider another violation of confidentiality of sources, dating from 1995, based on a complaint by the EFJ affiliate Belgian General Association of Professional Journalists (AGJPB). The Strasbourg-based court frequently condemns countries for not respecting the right of confidentiality of sources.

Enlargement and Media:
First major EFJ Seminar focusing on Challenges for Countries set to Join EU

"ENLARGEMENT: Media Freedom and Journalists Rights", is the title of the EFJ seminar, which is organised prior to this year's Annual Meeting in Brussels on June 14. Professional standards of journalists, access to information, the role of the trade unions and associations in the promotion of social standards, the need for effective cross-border co-operation and the promotion of key professional standards will be discussed in plenary debates with the EFJ affiliates of the candidate countries. Commission representatives will outline the EU media policy in candidate countries and the importance of social dialogue in the media.

Background material has been prepared on EU regulations in the social field, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and some best practice examples regarding bargaining and editorial statutes.

ETUC Seminar on Enlargement

AN ETUC seminar on collective bargaining and wage formation in the EU candidate countries in Gdansk, Poland on April, 26-27, presented the first real assessment of industrial relations, collective bargaining and wage formation systems in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The seminar confirmed that the main problem of the unions in CEE is their weak position at the workplace, which undermines their legitimacy also at the political level. Although the institutional framework of social dialogue has been adapted to the European patterns in the candidate countries, in most cases it is restricted to the formal criteria only. Fundamental changes are needed at the core of industrial relations in the CEE countries. The ETUC concluded that much more training and exchange of information was needed to get the colleagues in the candidate countries on equal footing.
Agnieszka Raczynska, temporary project assistant on enlargement issues at the EFJ, and Irena Valova, member of the EFJ Steering Committee, participated on behalf of the EFJ.

Globalisation and Labour Rights

ON behalf of the EFJ, European Officer Renate Schroeder spoke on globalisation and media and its challenge to quality, democracy, pluralism and working conditions for media workers at the 3rd International Congress of the Work and Labour Network "Labour, Globalisation and the new Economy, in Osnabrück, May 23-25. The meeting focused on the need for global social governance and corporate social responsibility at European and global level. Questions were discussed as how to guarantee effective co-operation between social parties at centralised and decentralised levels, how EWCs can contribute to establishing minimum standards with transnational groups at global level and how effective International treaties and conventions are. The meeting agreed that trade unions, labour research institutes and NGOs should work together in the fight for global social governance.

EFJ Mission to Turkey: Worrying Results

AN EFJ mission with the aim to assess the social and professional rights of Turkish journalists and to inquire on the devastating effects of media ownership took place on April, 26-30. The delegation, headed by EFJ chair Gustl Glattfelder, met with parliamentarians, human rights groups, representatives of the government, academics and the two Turkish IFJ affiliates, the Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) and the Progressive Journalists Association.
The journalists' trade unions are under tremendous pressure. A controversial law 212 prevents non-permanent employed journalists and media workers to receive the professional card, which allows them to membership with the union. Anti-terror laws allow Turkish authorities to close down publications and outlets and to detain and jail journalists and editors accused of terror "offenses". About three hundred legal provisions are designed to hinder freedom of expression, of religion of language and association. Union organization seems impossible for journalists working for newspapers and television channels not owned by the three major media owners in Turkey.
The delegation drafted a mission report, which will be discussed at the IFJ Executive Committee meeting in Washington on June 8-9, and at the EFJ Steering Committee on June 13. It will be circulated to interested parties in due time.


Journalists Warn Over "Deepening Crisis" For Public Broadcasting in the EU

THE EFJ and IFJ warned that dramatic policy changes in Denmark and Portugal are signs of a "deepening crisis" that threatens to overwhelm the public broadcasting sector in the European Union. "As political forces tighten their grip on the public networks in Italy, changes now proposed in Portugal and Denmark signal a deepening crisis for public broadcasting throughout the European Union," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ. The IFJ wrote a letter of protest to the Portuguese President on May, 30 2002.

Journalists Condemn "Political Cowardice" Over Threat to Broadcasting

THE EFJ accused political leaders of "complacency and cowardice" in the face of a growing assault on public service broadcasting in Europe on April 23. At the same time, said the EFJ, political and commercial battles over media are raising new questions over the future of independent broadcasting in France and Spain. "A genuine sense of crisis over the future of broadcasting is spreading from the countries on the verge of membership of the European Union into the heart of western Europe, yet the European Union remains silent," said Gustl Glattfelder, chair of the EFJ. "Instead of action to defend Europe's broadcasting and pluralist traditions we have complacency, cowardice and a failure of nerve on the part of politicians."

EU reacts to EFJ/IFJ Complaint on Broadcasting in Italy

AFTER four months, the European Commission finally responded to the EFJ protest letter to President Romano Prodi of January 28 regarding the situation of public service broadcasting in Italy. The EFJ/IFJ had asked the Commission to register 'the concern over the continuation of an unacceptable and intolerable conflict of interest in Italy involving the country's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
More information:
The Commission announced that the EFJ/IFJ complaint would be formally examined by the Internal Market DG in collaboration with the Justice and Internal Affairs and Education and Culture Directorate Generals.

Public Broadcasting for All:
West meets East for the defence of independence

AFTER the meeting on public broadcasting in Budapest in February, specific events or actions took place at national level in the region:

in Serbia: a draft law on public broadcasting. The IFJ issued a public statement of support to adopt the law, with the condition to integrate the demands drafted by the Council of Europe;
in Montenegro: a draft law on public broadcasting. The Independent Trade Union of Journalists of Montenegro issued a statement in line with the Council of Europe;
in Bosnia-Herzegovina: a draft law on public broadcasting. The draft is under examination;
in Czech Republic: draft "codex" for public radio and TV. The parliamentary examination is postponed until next elections (15 June 2002). The EFJ will send a mission to Prague in due time on this issue.
in Slovenia: a law on the statute of the employees of the public television RTVS. Despite opposition from the EFJ/IFJ, the Slovene Association of Journalists and the RTVSS management, the Slovenian Parliament adopted a law that turns RTVS media workers who are paid by the state into civil servants. The Slovene Association and the EFJ and IFJ are demanding change. "Classing staff as civil servants would clearly undermine the independence of Slovenian public broadcasters, said the IFJ.
More information: [email protected] and


GERMANY: The adoption of the new German Copyright Contract Law protects authors' rights and guarantees that authors should be adequately paid for their work. Each use of a work has to be paid for. The definition of "adequate" payment is left to negotiations between unions and employers, but if they cannot agree the courts will decide. However, any payment less than half of the minimum in collective agreements covering freelancers and people on regular contracts is unacceptable. The law says that levels of payment agreed before use of the Internet have to be adapted to take account of new online services.
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FRANCE: Ten French journalists have accused their employer of posting their work online without permission. The case, which is before a Court of Appeal in the city of Douai, could have major implications for those working on print titles with online versions. The journalists, working for newspaper group "La Voix du Nord", refused to sign a new clause in their contracts giving the publisher permission to post their articles on the paper's website. They say many other writers and photographers who are unhappy with the clause remained silent because they fear losing their jobs. The journalists' action is similar to recent US legal cases in which the courts have decided that authors must agree to the publication of material online.

SWEDEN: The Swedish organization for authors' rights, ALIS has won a second major victory: The court ruled favorably for the authors in the case of ALIS versus Aftonbladet. They considered that the use of the journalistic articles in the newspaper's database "Mediearkivet" is worth paying for and the texts could not be published without permission. Book authors and journalists were united in this fight for recognition of their authors' rights.

GREECE: The Greek collective agreement achieved for JUADNA and a privately owned V channel, ALTER, not only stipulates 8 percent wages increase, but also specifies on Authors' Rights. It requires journalists' consent for work to be published or reproduced and a special fee to be paid. This special fee for every day of publication or reproduction cannot be less than 1 percent and cannot exceed half of the journalist's monthly pay.

EU Conference on "European Copyright Revisited"

SEVERAL members of the Authors' Rights Expert Group will participate in the major International conference on "European Copyright revisited" in Santiago de Compostella, June 16-18, 2002. Digital Rights Management, country of origin vs. territoriality, update on copyright legislation at EU level, relationship between copyright and other areas of law (such as competition law) will be addressed. The EFJ will meet informally with members of the Creators' Forum including the European Writers' Congress. The meeting will discuss where there are still gaps to the harmonisation of copyright/authors' rights within the EU.


Council of Ministers

The European Council in Barcelona stressed the importance of preserving quality public services including broadcasting. It asked the Commission to report to the Seville European Council on progress on the guidelines for State aids, and if necessary propose an exemption in this area. The Council has adopted the Telecoms package, which overhauls the regulatory framework for communications. It includes:

a directive on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications network and services;
an Authorisation Directive;
an access and interconnection directive;
a directive on universal services and users rights;
a decision on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy.

The Council of Economic and Finance Ministers adopted a common position on the draft directive on market abuse and insider dealing. Due to concerted lobbying efforts together with the major media organisations, the following amendments had been included: "In respect of journalists when they act in their professional capacity such dissemination of information is to be assessed, without prejudice to article 11, taking into account the rules governing their professions, unless those persons derive, directly or indirectly, an advantage or profits from the dissemination of the information in question." The European Parliament will now re-examine the text as modified by the Council. The Commission has stated that it wishes to achieve a rapid adoption of the Directive.
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European Commission

The Commission adopted a draft Directive on equal rights and conditions for temporary workers. The initiative aims to provide minimum EU protection to temporary agency workers. It comes after the breakdown in negotiations on the issue between the social partners at EU level. The proposal contains a section on "atypical work", which covers short-term contracts and temporary work. It establishes the principle of non-discrimination, which relates to wages, working time, rest periods, holidays, night work, work for pregnant women and the young. The principle would apply for workers who have been with a company for more than six weeks.
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Directorate General Information Society drafted a communication and working document on the exploitation of public sector information. The paper discusses the definition of the notions of "public sector bodies", "documents", "generally accessible information" and its exceptions. The EFJ has demanded that access to information is also part of the debate and has expressed concern that issues at stake are freedom of information, the right to be informed and participation of civil society.

The Commission has adopted a series of decisions to enable 8 candidate countries to participate in the Media programme (2001-2005). This implies that these countries have achieved a satisfactory alignment of their audiovisual legislation with the Community aquis, said Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Education and Culture.

European Parliament

The Parliament approved a resolution on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on May 30. Activities include a greater awareness of human rights and working condition abroad. The resolution proposes the creation of an EU multi-stakeholder CSR platform made up of representatives of business, trade unions, non-governmental organisations, public authorities and representatives of non-EU countries. In addition, the resolution states that companies should be required to supply information on the social and environmental impact of their operations. Companies should also, according to the resolution, state their policy regarding social responsibility, human rights and environmental performance.
The Parliament adopted a controversial proposal to allow EU states to have access to private data used in electronic communications, which according to the EFJ and IFJ damages private rights and protection of sources (see article above).
More informationEuropean Parliament website.

Members of the Parliament and representatives of business called on May 28 on the EU heads of state to bring about improvements in the transparency in the Council of Ministers when they discuss the issue at the EU summit in Seville in June. Speaking at a debate on transparency and openness in the EU institutions, European Parliament's Vice President Charlotte Cederschiöd warned that if transparency is not enhanced, the Convention on the Future might fail in its task of bridging the gab between the EU and its citizens. The EFJ has been actively involved in a campaign for greater transparency in the EU institutions.

The Parliament amended on May 27 the Parliament's rules of procedure to list parliamentary and other EU documents sent to the Parliament. The move is set to bring the Parliament's rules of procedure in line with the requirements on transparency set out in the Amsterdam Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Convention on the Future of Europe

A working group on the Charter of Fundamental Rights is to be set up under the Convention on the Future of Europe. The group, which will be chaired by Commisisoner Antonio Vitorino, is expected to produce its report by October/November. The EFJ together with other media organisations will lobby for a stronger wording of Article 11 of the charter regarding media freedom.

Council of Europe

Freedom of expression and information and the fight against terrorism was the main topic at the May meeting of the Council of Europe's Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM)meeting in Strasbourg. In a preliminary hearing in which Gustl Glattfelder participated on behalf of the EFJ, all experts (EFJ, EBU, ENPA, Article 19 and French internet providers) strongly apposed the idea of limiting the basic right of freedom of expression (Art. 10 European Charta of Human Rights) and information in whatever context. Not even the fight against terrorism could justify such restriction. Even if most speakers followed this line, the CDMM could not agree on a final decision. There will be another debate at the CDMM meeting in November with a hearing of state and security experts. Meanwhile, an Advisory Panel of eight persons (including the Media) shall be established. The EFJ chair suggests to nominate IFJ/EFJ General Secretary Aidan White.

The Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly discussed on March, 13 the media situation in Italy. The committee is deeply concerned by the fact that the government is practically in control of all national TV channels.

European Trade Union Federation

The ETUC Executive Committee approved a political resolution on the deteriorating social situation in Europe and asked all affiliates to hold a press conference in their capital to present the resolution simultaneously on June 7. A new joint text on lifelong learning was signed in February 2002 by the EU-level social partners. The text was presented to the European Council which was held in Barcelona on 15-16 March 2002. The social partners state that it is necessary to work in partnership with education and training providers and to develop networks to collect information and exchange experiences. The text is not binding, but constitutes a significant step towards the coordination of training and development efforts and actions around Europe.
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More than 650 EWC agreements on CD-ROM

In 1999 the European Trade Union Institute issued a database on CD-ROM containing the English text of the agreements setting up European Works Councils in 470 multinational companies. The latest version of this full-text database contains more than 650 EWC agreements as well as national transposition laws of the EWC Directive. Documents may be sorted and selected by alphabetical order of company name, country of ownership, type of agreement and date of conclusion. A user guide is available on this CD-ROM.

New Yearbook on Audiovisual Sector

THE European Audiovisual Observatory (Council of Europe, Strasbourg) announced the publication of the first volume ("The Economy of the European Audiovisual Sector") of the 2002 edition of its Yearbook. The following conclusions were drawn from the findings on the broadcasting sector: The growth rate of the public broadcasting companies is significantly lower than that of the private channels; The levels and methods of financing the public sector differ widely from one country to another; and Commercial income is becoming increasingly important.
More information:


8: Labour Rights Experts Group Meeting, Brussels
20-21: Steering Committee Meeting, Brussels
26-30 EFJ Turkey Mission
3-4: EFJ Seminar: Globalisation and New Media
28: Meeting With Commissioner Günter Verheugen, Brussels
28: Meeting with DG Social Affairs and Employment on Freelance Issues
6: EFJ Finance Commission Meeting
13: EFJ Steering Committee Meeting
14-15: EFJ Seminar (Enlargement: Media Freedom and Journalists' Rights) and EFJ Annual Meeting (European Action Plan to confront Media Globalisation)
7-8: EFJ Steering Committee Meeting
30: EFJ Freelance Expert Group Meeting