ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN  JOURNALISTS

UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

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Minutes of the UK Section's 2006 Annual General Meeting

 

The meeting was held on 10 January 2007 from 17:00-18:30 at the European Parliament Office, 2 Queen Anne's Gate, London, and chaired by William Horsley

 

1. Chairman's report. William welcomed members and was pleased to see such a healthy turnout; the room was full with 20 members attending. He presented his written report, and gave his personal tribute to Kevin d'Arcy who had decided to retire as Executive Secretary after countless years keeping the British section on its feet. Members showed their appreciation with a warm round of applause.

2. Treasurer's report. Celia Hampton presented a report on the section's finances for the 2006 calendar showing year. She said the accounts were in good shape. She also noted the generosity of the European Parliament, which had provided an excellent venue for AEJ meetings free of charge. Dermot Scott, Director of the EP London Office, reported that in just over a year's time they expected to move from their present premises to a nearby building which would be a joint office with the European Commission. He was confident that the EP would continue to be able to host AEJ meetings in the new building. More openness and involvement with appropriate organisations would be a key part of their policy. The meeting thanked Dermot with a round of applause.

3. Acting Secretary's report. Celia highlighted points from her written report. There had been 11 meetings during 2006, with a wide-ranging selection of guests. This satisfied our objective of having one a month on average (except in August).

4. There had been other stimulating events marking World Press Freedom Day and the start of the German Presidency of the EU, and a good British section attendance at the International AEJ Congress in Oviedo in October. The EESC-European Economic and Social Committee had hosted an interesting briefing in Brussels, and seemed keen to support similar events in the coming year.

5. The officers said they hoped for more collaboration with other organisations. On that theme, Martyn Bond mentioned that reduced rates for AEJ members had been agreed at the London Press Club, and at the Commonwealth Club, giving very valuable discounts for membership and accommodation.

6. Election of Officers. Nominations had been received according to the statutes as follows:

Chairman - William Horsley

Secretary - Celia Hampton

Treasurer - Mike Springate

They were unopposed. Jonathan Fryer proposed the appointment of all three, and was seconded by Martyn Bond. The officers were duly elected by acclamation. Celia expressed particular thanks to Mike Springate for agreeing to take on the duties of Treasurer. His claims to be entirely innumerate were treated with dismissive jocularity, tempered by a frisson of anxiety.

7. The section's website, www.aej-uk.org. David Barker presented a paper suggesting ways of making the UK section's website more effective quite quickly without involving significant expenditure. He was not proposing a complete redesign at this stage, but some new sections which would be more topical - giving news of events coming up and brief reports on recent activities, and with more links to other useful sites, including the sites of guest speakers.

 

 

 

 

 

The website would have three main purposes:

a) To keep members informed

b) To attract potential members

c) To allow invited guests and potential guests to see what the AEJ is about

In the discussion that followed, Kevin d'Arcy pointed out that links to the sites of other organisations should be reciprocated with links to the AEJ-UK site. Rick Thompson, who had written the original text, welcomed the idea of a more active site. He thought the whole site looked rather out of date. He would like a new style and some pictures, but that would depend on the cost involved, but he knew our webmaster Roy Saatchi would be very helpful and flexible. Celia said she would talk to Roy to see how much was possible. She felt sure that David's proposed changes could be achieved within the existing contract.

She would email members with the result of the conversations with Roy, and with information about the number of current site visits.

The meeting agreed to David's proposal and Paul Hodgson initiated a vote of thanks for David's thoughtful and thorough presentation.

8. Other business. The Chairman called for suggestions for 2007 speakers, and several names were put forward. William hoped that he would receive lots of ideas for speakers and special events during the year.

The Secretary said she had found someone who would organise the catering arrangements for the AEJ meeting, including the tedious task of clearing away afterwards, at very reasonable cost.

Paul Hodgson proposed a vote of thanks to the three office-holders of the AEK-UK, who spent such a lot of their valuable time sustaining and developing the UK Section of the association.

The formal part of the meeting was then closed, and members repaired to the Crown Vaults at the nearby Old Star for an informal tribute evening for Kevin d'Arcy, to mark his retirement as Section Secretary.

They were joined by some members who had been unable to attend the AGM. Excellent refreshments were provided by the AEJ. Kevin gave a short and amusing speech, which was followed by a prolonged and intensive general discussion about European Affairs, during which amazingly simple and obvious solutions were found to many long-standing economic and diplomatic European problems.

 

Rick Thompson January 2007

 

 

 

 

Chairman's report

 

Meetings