European Commission – Afterwork receptions made binding:)

I’ve had a feeling since the start that this event will have a strange flavour. It’s the launch of the European Commission‘s new programme for civil society, entitled “Europe for citizens” (they changed the name from the initial “Citizens for Europe” – common sense you would say). I’m not too picky about the way companies invite people in the name of the Commission, but this story is funny and sad at the same time. Interesting enough to write about it.

Anyway, I received an email a while ago inviting me to the launch event of the new programme taking place after 6pm during the week. I first received the invitation in English only, with no promised attachement. It can happen. I then receive an email in English with three attachements, one of them was in French and the registration form was in PDF. I became suspicious. As if it wasn’t already embarassing enough, the company sends the third email to their database with the invitation in French…

I would forgive them all of this. Since Pat Cox is speaking at the opening, I had to go for professional reasons so I applied. And I get this back:

We would like to remind you that we understand your registration as binding and will plan accordingly.  As the number of participants is limited, we have created a waiting list for those who are interested in attending. In order to allow all available places to be taken, we kindly ask you to send us written notice, if you are forced to cancel your registration.


BINDING? What the hell…

These companies get a lot of money to handle invitations and receptions well, they should know better whom to put in charge of communications in these cases. Few hints:

– check the mailings 5 times with 5 different people before sending it out to a database of several 1000 people

– please, registrations form in PDF are useless, how many people know how to edit a PDF?

– receptions are not binding and saying this is offensive

8 thoughts on “European Commission – Afterwork receptions made binding:)”

  1. Marko, please change the title. It’s not the European Commission inviting, it’s a company, consultant, NGO (you know who) which is doing this with the Commission’s money.
    Be fair to the Commission.

    we’re nice, you like!


  2. Hi Peter, thanks for the comment. Sure, it’s a company that has a contract with the Commission. But since the communication is coming in the name of the Commission, we will also agree that the Commission has the final responsability. We also agree that is not the company launching the programme “Citizens for Europe”.

    The same applies for various campaigns that the EC is subcontracting and which are not independently run (like NGOs’ projects).

    I might get something wrong here, but for me the title stays. Also because the Commission should be more careful in selecting subcontractors.


  3. We agree that the Commission has the final reponsibility, but we also agree that “the contractor” has its share of responsibility. So, if you refuse to change the title, we should agree to mention the name of the other responsible party, shouldn’t we?


  4. I have had some fun thinking on possible reprisals the company could take in case you register, u dont show-up and you even dare not to send an excuse…

    we should maybe ask them, i am sure they have a list of punishement for undisciplined citizens 🙂

    …In any case we should check if they have the same policy with the speakers confirmed 🙂


  5. It is not the first time I hear about the strange ways this particular agency is spending EU money (I could tell you details over a coffee, if you want). I tend to assume that the event is being organised by one of their current interns… They seem to be one of the favourite agencies of the Commission, however. Remember, for example that fabulous ‘Together since 1957’ logo? That was (i.e. the selection process) another of their masterpieces.


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