EU sets out guidelines for 'careful study' of controversies
The EU has set out guidelines for its staff on how to react when there's something a bit controversial that people are going to expect one of the world's superpowers and biggest economies to react to, particularly when it pertains to one of the bloc's own members.
The "Careful Study" stage is the first formal step in a 10-step process that could lead to legal action before the European Court of Justice, but invariably doesn't.
The process includes such later stages as "urge change", "consider options", and "wait until German national/regional/local-school-board elections are over [delete as appropriate] so as not to rock the boat for the CDU."
In an update to the European Commission's 'Manual of Procedures', seen by the Berlaymonster, EUHQ has told staff that 'careful study' should be the stock response for anything that isn't "outright incontrovertably good." (The Manual of Procedures, named of course after previous European Commission President 'Jose 'Manual of Procedures' Barroso').
If a political or legal development presents even the slightest risk of rubbing someone up the wrong way, officials must "trigger protocol Careful Study immediately", the ManProc update states.
Within the CS protocol, first step is to "not comment on what's said in the press" and to "await formal notification" of the contentious development.
"You can do some 'looking forward to engaging with XYZ on ABC' in the meantime by way of trying to elicit a response, but DO NOT at this stage trigger protocols Urge or Call For," the document states. "If you get any informal responses or reports of changes you may "note the developments," but must still await formal notification."
On receipt of the formal notification under the CS protocol, this is when the careful study itself can actually begin, starting with a checklist of whether it has come in the right languages, to the right fax number, with the right pagination.
"It's at that stage that you may actually issue a statement, if questioned, that you will 'study it carefully but cannot comment further.'" the ManProc says.
Only than can officials begin an analysis of whether the policy "complies or fails to comply with EU legislation or principles or human rights," and *in that order*.
Given the sheer amount of legislation, the first of these three steps may take some time, but must be done thoroughly so as to ensure that suppression of LGBTQI rights, for example, doesn't breach bathing water quality laws, or that suppression of the press is in line with agricultural extensification incentives.
Once the pure legal readout has been done, and any breaches or conflicts found, the contentious development must then be measured against the EU's principles.
Both of them.
The EU principle of "Subsidiarity", however, often runs counter to and trumps the EU principle of "Please Don't Be A Dick, Just Be Nice, Please Just Be Nice." The ManProc update instructs EU staffers to "study carefully" the balance of the interests here, as part of the Careful Study protocol.
Lastly, officials must carefully study whether the contentious development is in line with human rights, which by this stage it almost definitely isn't, but fuck it, it justifies another round of consultation with a whole new department of legal services.
"Only once all these CS protocol steps are complete, can you consider proceding to Urge, Call For, or Condemn. But you must not Consider Legal Action until you have Consulted Member States and given the European Parliament the opportunity to deliver an Own Resolution."
The latter will, of course, "also require Careful Study".
Possibly even after a "period of reflection."