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Parliamentary questions
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8 August 2017
Joint answer given by First Vice-President Timmermans on behalf of the Commission
Written questions: E-003698/17 , E-003697/17 , E-003721/17 , P-003696/17 , E-003720/17
Question references: E-003697/2017, E-003698/2017, P-003696/2017, E-003720/2017, E-003721/2017

President Juncker, First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioners Moscovici, Stylianides and Moedas, did indeed each meet with George Soros, at his request, on 27 April, 31 May and 1 June 2017. The planned meeting with Commissioner Avramopoulos did not take place in the end due to diary changes.

In accordance with Article 11(1) and (2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the institutions must, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action. They are also required to maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society.

For these purposes, and in accordance with the Commission's Decision on publication of information on such meetings, the Members of the Commission regularly meet with organisations or self-employed individuals, in order to learn about the difficulties they are confronted with and to understand their views on Union policies and legislation.

The meetings were announced a week before and published in the Commissioners' calendar and on the respective websites of the President and the Commissioners.

The meetings followed the standard practice for external visitors to the Commission headquarters and did not generate any specific costs for the institution.

The arrival followed the standard practice for meetings with several Commissioners, with the Protocol Service greeting the guest and accompanying him to the various offices in turn. Only visiting Heads of State or Government are greeted by the President at the Protocol entrance.

As is standard practice, accredited photo and video journalists were invited to attend the photo opportunity with President Juncker.

Though not required, but in the interest of full transparency, the Commission also provided a detailed readout of the meeting with President Juncker and its content and responded to a series of questions pertaining to the visit during the midday briefing of 27 April 2017.

The meetings covered a range of issues, in particular related to the Central European University in Budapest and the reform process in Ukraine, the proposed Hungarian law on non-governmental organisations, the future of the EU’s economic and monetary union post Brexit, including Eurozone governance, broader questions around the future of Europe debate, and the refugee crisis.

Access to documents is governed by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents(1).

(1)Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43‐48.

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