Directorate-General X, the European Commission’s information and
communications wing, could be heading for a major shake-up, following
the arrival of Spyros Pappas as its new director this week.
Pappas, a Greek lawyer, succeeds Colette Flesch who becomes
director-general of the commission’s translation service in Luxembourg.
Pappas previously headed the commission’s consumer policy section
DGXXIV. Before that he was a professor of European law at the European
Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht.
Reporting directly to Spanish commissioner Marcelino Oreja, Pappas will
administer commission policy for culture and audiovisual media as well
as information and communications. DGX projects include formulating
legislation on cross-border television and organising representation at
the Expo 2000 exhibition in Hanover.
DGX also has an important imput on large scale communications campaigns,
including the single currency.
Plans to revamp DGX’s responsibilities have been on the cards for some
time. Last year proposals were aired to remove the commission’s
spokesman’s service from under the wing of president Jacques Santer to
DGX while farming out audiovisual policy to other DGs.
Although Oreja has rejected the idea of DGX giving up any of its
functions, he has given his backing to the creation of a public
information centre which would co-operate with national bureaux.
A radical overhaul of DGX’s role and the establishment of an information
unit will, however, need the prior approval of member states. Given the
UK government’s sensitivity to European policy issues, that is unlikely
to happen until after the general election.