10 hours at the European Council

Article published on Nov. 13, 2017
Article published on Nov. 13, 2017

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

On October 19th and 20th, the heads of state and government of the 28 member states of the European Union met in Brussels to debate urgent matters on the agenda: migration, defence, digital technology…it took a while to come to an agreement. While these ladies and gentlemen discuss, the journalists wait. The following is a photographic report of the hours spent at the European Council.


Journalists wait at the entrance of the European Council for the heads of state and government to arrive. Boom operators, cameramen and photographers rush to the terraces to get the best shot.

#EUCO stay tuned... pic.twitter.com/Se70zIrC8T

— Cafebabel Brussels (@cafebabelbxl) 19 October 2017


After a half hour wait, an hour after the officially announced time, Theresa May is the first to arrive at the European Council.

“Co-operation will be at the heart of the future partnership that we want to build together.” – PM at #EUCO pic.twitter.com/0oe6yr728A

— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) 19 October 2017


After Theresa May's arrival, there's another 15 minute wait for a second car to arrive. Meanwhile, the journalists are on the lookout, they adjust their frames.


Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, arrives in turn.

"We fully stay committed to the complete implementation by all sides of #IranDeal which is a key EU security interest" @FedericaMog #EUCO pic.twitter.com/CcEwjMB15p

— European Commission (@EU_Commission) 19 October 2017


Angela Merkel is one of the first to arrive. Traditionally, each head of state and government gives a brief initial statement when they arrive. Something for journalists to chew on.

#Merkel on the European digital technology agenda #EUCO pic.twitter.com/B2gZiQyp8y

— Cafebabel Brussels (@cafebabelbxl) 19 October 2017


Emmanuel Macron doesn't take long on the carpet.

Arrival and statement of President Emmanuel #MACRON at the European Council @Elysee #EUCO https://t.co/iKbppQZAnx

— Kaenas O'Connor (@Kaenaso) 19 October 2017


The wait begins. The next bit of "news" is only due to come through from 19:00 onwards along with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. Meanwhile, the heads of state and goverment discuss.

OK guys, here's the plan... Theresa May meets @EmmanuelMacron and Angela Merkel at #EUCO pic.twitter.com/pOR8NKCtDr

— Jim Brunsden (@jimbrunsden) 19 October 2017


Several areas in the European Council are reserved for journalists. The biggest room is impressive. Hundreds of journalists from all over the world are gathered together under the same glass roof.


Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker have finally given their press conference at 19:45. Another wait, this time unending, begins. Rumour has it that Emmanuel Macron might not make a statement this evening.

@JunckerEU #EUCO "We need to increase financing for #Africa. Member States have committed only €175 mio to Trust Fund. This is not enough." pic.twitter.com/dSg3iVkt6I

— Mina Andreeva (@Mina_Andreeva) 19 October 2017


From time to time, the room becomes agitated. A press officer turns up bearing precious information. Angela Merkel was supposed to speak around 22:30. In the end she still wouldn't have spoken by 23:30. The evening comes to an end at 00:30. We'll have to come back early tomorrow for new information.

#EUCO Wondering how it went? Follow our guide! pic.twitter.com/E1dc4GUgy8

— Cafebabel Brussels (@cafebabelbxl) 19 October 2017