How to apply
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Journalists applying for media accreditation to the European Institutions must fulfill the following criteria:
- They must be an employee of a bona fide media organisation or a freelance journalist who regularly covers EU affairs for a bona fide media organisation.
- Be based in Brussels.
- Journalism must be their main source of income.
Media organisations must fulfil the following criteria:
- They must be editorially independent and a commercial organisation with no distribution restrictions.
- They must be open about how and by whom it is financed.
- They must provide information on the activities of the European Institutions.
- Additional requirements for online media:
- The website must be a professional online media website which adheres to the rules laid down for media organisations (see above), and have a specific, verifiable street address and telephone number.
- The majority of the website content must cover original news, commentary or analysis, must cover EU affairs and be updated at least once per week.
- Generally, daily and weekly publications are accepted; monthly and bi-monthly publications can also be accepted provided they regularly cover European affairs.
N.B. Paper or online publications which are communications outreach or advocacy publications of non-governmental or non-profit organisations, think tanks or interest groups do not qualify for media accreditation.
The following documents must be attached with each application:
- For EU nationals: identity card or passport from a Member State of the European Union. For non-EU nationals: passport from country of origin.
- Proof of main or secondary residence in Belgium. Either a copy of identity card or equivalent, a copy of the certificate of registration in the "commune" of residence, or a housing rental contract.
- Proof of journalist status, i.e. a reference to your profession in an official document, or a valid press card.
- A recent letter on headed paper or equivalent, signed by the editor-in-chief or director of the media organisation stating that you cover EU affairs and:
- that you are employed by the organisation (lacking verifiable proof of employment status, journalists may be asked to provide proof of journalistic work and payment)
- or if you are a freelance journalist: that you regularly work for the media organisation
- In addition, freelance journalists need to provide the following:
- proof of recent EU-related coverage
- proof of payment for regular and sustained journalistic work
The inter-institutional accreditation committee will reject applications from non-journalists, lobbyists and consultants, or those who have a professional side activity that they deem incompatible with permanent press accreditation.
The accreditation committee reserves the right to request additional documentation from the media organisation and/or journalist, as proof of status.
How accreditation is granted
All requests for annual accreditation are submitted to an accreditation advisory committee, composed of representatives of the Commission, Council, Parliament and the International Press Association (IPA). Accreditation is granted on the basis of the accreditation committee's decision.
The accreditation committee may also review accreditation at any time. For this purpose, you may be asked to provide up-to-date information.
Temporary access cards pending a decision by the advisory committee may be issued.
If you are refused accreditation, you may reapply to the appeal committee, made up of the Directors-General of DG Communication (Commission – committee chair), DG COMM (Council) and DG COMM (Parliament) and the president of the IPA. The appeal committee meets when necessary. Pending your appeal, the accreditation committee may grant temporary accreditation.
The committee reserves the right to revoke the press card of any journalist whose behaviour interferes with the smooth running of the media or other activities of the European Institutions.
Incidents will be examined thoroughly by the accreditation committee. The holder will be informed by letter of the date of the committee meeting and entitled to attend (accompanied by a person of their choice) to defend themselves. They (and their professional association) will be informed of the committee's decision and its reasons, and may appeal to the appeal committee.
Note: The term "journalist" covers written press journalists (including those working for online media), radio and TV journalists, film crews and press photographers.