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Small scenes seen at the Comedia del Sommet Méditerranée

Know it now, if you pass one day and you see a press conference of the French presidency of the EU posted. Go for it... You won't waste your time. It's all about humor and finesse... Judge for yourself!

(BRUSSELS2 at the Grand Palais - Paris) EU-Mediterranean Summit, July 13, a tent set up off the Grand Palais, a stone's throw from the Champs Elysées, serves as a haven of peace for the few dozen journalists waiting behind gates for the arrival of the Chefs. It is past 20:00 p.m. The presidents (Sarkozy, Mubarak, Barroso) arrive at the press conference - between a row of Republican guards, in full dress, red carpet on the ground... Grandiose!

The show, the show can begin

I have a dream ... Sarkozy radiates: "We had dreamed of it: the Union for the Mediterranean is now a reality". (A few moments later, very modest) "It was the protagonists who made an effort. I just issued an invitation."

Bernard K., clowning around... (Sarkozy lists the appointments) In November, that's Bernard (Kouchner daydreams), Sarkozy resumes, "CBeing there isn't everything, Bernard, you have to listen too ". Said Bernard then gets up, struts around, and says "but I'm here"... Kids in class when the teacher is absent!

The Egyptian slap at the orders

As soon as the intervention of Mubarak, the Egyptian president, ended, some well-fed applause left a part of the room, very localized. A well organized slap! It is neither more nor less an Egyptian official – who has settled in the ranks of the press – who launched the applause, taken up by certain “journalists”. Timidly, for good measure, he then launches an identical movement after Barroso's speech (more timid, Bernard Kouchner making signs, mockingly, like a room steward, to revive the applause). Small movement intercepted at the presidential platform where Nicolas Sarkozy (quite rightly) launches partly to Mubarak (taking his arm), partly to the room: “ I specify that in France, it is not done that the journalists applaud. We are not used to it.". The slap ceases immediately and its initiator, red badge on the neck (sign of the accredited "delegation") joins the ranks of the officials.

Came the time for questions and the distribution of microphones to journalists, another funny scene

Apparently not organized at all. For lack of organization, it is indeed the Republican Guards not really made for this office, who stick to it, required by the President in person. But finally " gentlemen distribute the microphone Sarkozy launches them. Hard to refuse! The result: a happy mess. Several journalists speak at the same time. Some who had been given the microphone, but not the floor, refused to give it back (a guard had to snatch the hands of an Arab journalist - who finally spoke without a microphone - and another Polish). Nicolas Sarkozy ends up intervening to bring back some order, like a schoolmaster overwhelmed by a bit of heckling: “ a question for the Arab press, a question for the French press, that's how it is ". And, bam, too bad for the European (or Israeli) press! It's a detail if you're at a European summit, by the way...

Safety at fault

Despite all this security rampage, there were serious security holes in the security. As at the end of the press conference, where no security device – apart from a gendarme and two poor police officers, a little overwhelmed – had been planned. It was therefore perfectly possible for an ill-intentioned badge holder to make an inappropriate gesture or to trigger any weapon or bomb at this time.

In the press room, an organization close to outdated amateurism

• The internet system worked very slowly...when it worked (Wifi connection was very eventual). Dare, dare the technicians had to make internet cables to overcome the failures. At 15 p.m. everything was back to normal, nearly 6 hours after the opening of the press room. In fact, the notebook and the pencil, it's so good!

• Other leaders' conferences and press briefings were not announced. A grid had been kept up to date by the Elysée, but it remained on the end of the table in the organizers' room, and not distributed. What's the point of going to see the other heads of government when there's only one who matters...

• As for the accesses, they were difficult. A single filtering system had been set up at the entrance to the press room, which forced journalists into long lines to access their workstations. And the final press conference room had been located outside the Palace, and the security perimeter, forcing the journalists to go there by bus, duly supervised (therefore impossible to go there at the last moment and to walk the hundred meters), each time having to pass in front of security gates.

Good, but with such a marvelous decor, and it's true that it's magnificent, this Grand Palais is all glass and steel, and an excellent table (a real success), not to mention the spectacle offered at the press conference, of which we complain.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).